AJ Collins Books

Oleanders are Poisonous book cover 3D
"From the first pages, Collins breathes life into her characters, fuels your need to know more. With empathy and insight, she sheds light on the dark experiences of life, shows the power of connection and the courage it takes to move on. A big-hearted coming of age novel about love and trust and everything that comes between."
Melissa Manning
Author of Smokehouse Collection


Oleanders are Poisonous

This mature YA coming-of-age story is filled with heartbreak, laughter and poignancy, unafraid to address the sometimes gut-wrenching complexities of growing up.

In a town where gossip spreads like dust blowing in from the Mallee’s canola fields, something unspeakable is about to happen to sixteen-year-old Lauren. It’s bad enough she’s losing her mum to a horrible disease and that her best friend is leaving town, but now the only person she thought she could trust, is about to betray her. She can’t stay here. No one is going to believe the town cop could do such a horrific thing to his own daughter. There’s nothing left to do but run. Especially after the fire.

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Also available on OverDrive and Bibliotheca apps.

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Magnolias don't Die 3D book cover
"AJ Collins expertly guides us through Lauren’s brutal, complicated coming of age in a poignant tale about growing up too fast, forgiving too slowly, and the healing power of love, friendship, and family – however it comes."
Nicole Hayes
Author of The Whole of My Word, One True Thing, A Shadow’s Breath ​

Magnolias don't Die

This devastatingly honest YA+ novel explores the casual sexism and harassment young women face every day and how essential it is to speak up and find support when dealing with teen trauma.

It’s been eighteen months since Lauren left her horrific memories in the dust of Wineera. But now, in this  grungy Fitzroy pub, in walks Harry, the young musician from back home who won her teenage heart. Then smashed it. Harry’s offering her a brighter life. He says he believes in her. Says she has a gift: a unique voice. Lauren wants to trust him. She wants to be like those other girls – confident, carefree, not giving a fork what anyone thinks. Can getting lost in the spotlight, in the music, in Harry’s arms, help Lauren forget that awful night back home? Or will it bring her dark secret into bright focus? Maybe it’s already happening …

Also available on Overdrive and Bibliotheca apps.

Anthologies containing my short stories

Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts Anthology

Buy: Burning Love and Bleeding Hearts  Short Story Anthology – Things In The Well Publications, Feb 2020.

This anthology includes my short story “Valentine’s Volunteer”, about a not-so-innocent bloodbank collection worker, and features 60 short fiction pieces from international authors. 

Buy: Lizard Skin Press: Short Story Anthology No.1  Published 2012.

This anthology includes my short story “The Indian Giver”, which was awarded First Prize in the 2010 Monash Short Story Writing Competition. It features six-year-old Katie who is questioning the authenticity of religious dogma, and the harshness of adults who qualify the importance of kindness to suit their own needs.

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