Obernewtyn is the first book of the five-volume Obernewtyn Chronicles, written by the Australian fantasy author Isobelle Carmody. She began writing the novel (her first) while still at high school, and worked on it while completing her bachelor of arts at the University of Melbourne. Enough background, what's the damn book about?
The story is set in future post-apocalyptic Earth. In this particular case, post-apocalyptic means the story can be futuristic, and in some ways science fiction, without having space ships and robots and rayguns and whatnot. The apocalypse itself refers to one of the nuclear variety, shunting human kind into an Age of Chaos, and beyond into a completely unfamiliar social setting, which I won't go into, but its basically a coalition between the totalitarian Council and fanatical Herder Faction, a religious institution that performs among other things burnings of mutated animals and people under the protection of the Council.
The story is presented from the first person perspective of one Elspeth Gordie, who has been tainted as a result of the Great White, mentally. She can read minds. She can write minds. She can do a whole lot of other funky shit too. Elspeth's parents were branded seditioners, and as such publicly burnt alive by the Herder Faction as Elspeth and her brother Jes watched. Both were sent to Council farms, to mine a harzadous substance called white stick. I don't think I need to tell you that Misfits - those mentally afflicted by the Great White - aren't treated particularly well by the Herders or the Council
Well, that's that. There's a lot more to it than that, but hopefully, I've given you enough to consider giving the chronicles a go. Basically, its like Harry Potter, but darker - more serious, and about deeper issues - and cooler, possibly less suited for kids (especially later in the series), but definitely worth a looksee.