48 Shades of Brown is a novel written by Nick Earls. It is officially listed as young adult fiction but its suitability for a younger audience makes it no less funny or appealing to those who can legally drink or drive.

Provided you've ever been sixteen you'll relate to the lead protagonist, Dan, who in his final year of high school has elected to stay with his incredibly hip and funky 22 year old muso Aunt Jacq -- and her friend Naomi -- rather than take a trip to Geneva with his parents.

Moving out of home and having to adapt to the adult world while studying for his final exams would be hard enough, but then he falls for Naomi and things start to get... confusing.

If you're a Nick Earls fan (which I am), this one is not to be missed. The first person narration includes a hilarious and entirely convincing internal monologue throughout, that perfectly captures the feeling of insecurity and awkwardness that describes my adolescent years to a tee.

The title is a reference to Dan who fears he will have nothing to talk about should he have the opportunity to speak to Naomi. So, he starts to memorise obscure facts to impressive her and she considers him more interesting. This leads him to ornithology, where he learns there are 48 different shades of brown used to describe ducks.

The book has recently been adapted into a successful stage play by Philip Dean.

48 Shades was first published in 1999 by Penguin Books in Australia.

For the record, the 48 shades of brown are:

Mahogony, deep brown, buffy, dark brown, rufous, dull brown, chestnut, dusky, golden buff, reddish brown, tawny, rusty, bright rufous, dull rufous, rich chestnut, fawn, grey-brown, warm redish-buff, brownish, rich buff, warm rufous, non-descript grey brown, neutral grey brown, yellowish buff, sandy brown, dingy brown, pale brown, khaki, brownish grey, olive brown, bright chestnut, pastel brown, warm brown, dingy yellowish-buff, rich rufous, dull olive-brown, rich red-brown, sooty brown, mousey grey-brown, dusky brown, dingy buff, sandy brown, warm sandy-brown, dark sooty-brown, warm golden-buff, sandy rufous, dark dusky-brown, and brown.