One of the books I had to read (way back when) at school was Z For Zachariah by Robert O'Brien. I approached it reluctantly at the time, but ended up loving it.
I think it's when I realised that my love of reading was bigger than genre or topic. As long as the book was well written, engaging and had something to say, I could not only get into it, but come to appreciate it & love it as well.
The Sky So Torn also deals with a nuclear winter and post-apocalyptic world but this time set in the Blue Mountains of NSW. It also comments on the nature of science, politics and power.
The wall dividing the city to keep the refugees out and protect the supply of food and water for those on the inside was quite a telling moment in light of Australian politics right now.
Zorn references Conrad's Heart of Darkness a few times, a book on my Classics Club TBR list, so I can't be sure (yet) if there are parallels beyond the obvious ones of civilisation, morals & racism (all themes that she discusses with a light touch in The Sky So Torn).
Zorn leaves the ending wide open. Just like Ann in Z For Zachariah, we see the main protagonists heading off hopefully to find a band of survivors down south.
The Sky So Heavy has been shortlisted for the CBCA awards and Aurealis awards.
It deals with mature themes and contains some swearing.
Recommended for 15+ readers.