UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


Top 10 favourite UKYA by Jim from YAYeahYeah

Jim is an incredibly prolific book blogger, with YA Yeah Yeah, YA Contemporary and the fabulous new YA TV site, Young Adult TV. He shares his Top 10 faves with us. 

My top ten of anything changes pretty much daily. I haven’t even attempted to order these, because that way madness lies. If you asked me tomorrow, some of them would certainly still be on there, some may be nudged out by others which are just off the list at the moment. However, I think the ten below are wonderful books and series that all fans of UKYA should take a look at.

1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Wein has created one of the most memorable fictional pairings ever in narrators Verity and Maddie. A stunning, heartbreaking, but ultimately life-affirming book.

2. The Things We Did For Love by Natasha Farrant
I read this straight after Code Name Verity and really should have taken a break to stock up on tissues. Londoner Farrant’s portrayal of a French village where the Resistance are bravely fighting the Nazis, and a love story set against this backdrop, is staggering.

3. Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt
How can anyone be this talented with their debut book? Jarratt’s central couple of traveller Ryan and Jenna, who’s scarred from a car crash, are both battling their own issues but find conmfort in each other. The romance between the two is beautiful. As a book, it’s also incredibly unpredictable.

4. A Witch In Winter/A Witch in Love by Ruth Warburton
Winter, the small fishing town to which Anna and her father move at the start of the first of these novels, is a fabulous location and Warburton describes it so wonderfully that you can practically feel the sea breeze when reading. Add in some brilliant characters and great plots and you have a superb series so far.

5. Wereworld series by Curtis Jobling
I read the first of these novels expecting fairly mindless action – making the old mistake of judging a book by a cover – and was blown away by Jobling’s rich worldbuilding and incredible characters. This is a truly epic fantasy sequence which gets better with every new book.

6. When I Was Joe/Almost True by Keren David
David’s taut style, fast paced plot, and believable characterisation make these books completely impossible to put down. She’s created a male narrator who is really easy to like and who has a truly compelling story.

7. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
As I’ve mentioned above, I bawl like a baby quite often when reading books these days. When I first read this, I wasn’t reading much teen fiction and don’t think I’d ever cried at a book before. I broke down 3/4 of the way through this one and, rereading it years later, found it had lost none of its power. An incredible tearjerker.

8. Department 19 series by Will Hill
Hill writes books which are ridiculously long but never seems to waste a word. They’re arguably dangerous to read – there were so many shocking moments in book two, The Rising, that I nearly dropped it several times. (And this is one heavy hardback!) I’ll take the risk of a broken toe, though, and carry on with this series because Hill cuts between narratives wtih huge skill and manages to create absolutely compelling, multi-layered stories which leave you desperate to know what happens next.

9. Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
I like the first three and love the last four. I think Rowling did a phenomenal job of creating characters who lots of people cared about and some wonderful plots.

10. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
As a fantasy sequence, this is possibly unbeatable. Alexander created a wonderful world and characters who developed beautifully in the course of his five novels. A real gem.
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Rise of the Wolf (Wereworld #1) by Curtis Jobling

‘You’re the last of the werewolves son. Don’t fight it…Conquer it’.

When the air is clear, sixteen year-old Drew Ferran can pick up the scent of a predator. When the moon breaks through the clouds, a terrifying fever grips him. And when a vicious beast invades his home, his gums begin to tear, his fingers become claws, and Drew transforms…

Forced to flee the family he loves, Drew seeks refuge in the most godforsaken parts of Lyssia. But when he is captured by Lord Bergan’s men, Drew must prove he is not the enemy. Can Drew battle the werecreatures determined to destroy him – and master the animal within?

Visit the Wereworld website


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Andy Robb’s Top 10 UKYA books

If I was asked my Top Ten Books were, it’d be relatively simple – but with the YA tag attached it makes it a lot harder: there’s so much to choose from! But, I think I’ve narrowed it down. Here we go, then – in no particular order:

The Bartimaeus Books by Jonathan Stroud. I love these for a number of reasons, but mainly for Bartimaeus himself; he’s a sassy, jaded, arrogant gargoyle determined to come out on top. I also loved Bart’s pairing up with Nathaniel – who is an equal jerk, just a different kind. Action, humour and pathos all rolled into one. Can’t wait for the fifth.

The Borribles, by Michael de Larrabeiti. This book has a bit of a cult following. In this world, disaffected young adults drop out of society, grow pointed ears and live in tribes across London. It’s quite dark and bloody but, at the same time, quite Tolkienesque; the Borribles have a rich history and an incredibly-defined culture of their own. Plus there are the bad guys, the Rumbles’ giant rat-like creatures that want to see all Borribles destroyed. Plus it’s the first book I read to features the word ‘arse’.

Young Sherlock Holmes Black Ice, by Andrew Lane. I’d always loved Conan Doyle’s creation, but it was interesting to see just how Lane has humanised the young Sherlock and hints at how he will become the distant detective of the future. Although they are packed with intrigue, mystery and detail, they are easy to read.

Wereworld, Rise of the Wolf, by Curtis Jobling. If I’m honest, I was prepared not to like this. I love my werewolves, but I think I’m a bit of a traditionalist and see them as lone, tormented creatures. Jobling has created a world where were-creatures are part of society and, to my surprise, I loved it! 16 year-old Drew is a great character, fraught with the worries that come with that age, which made it all the more interesting to read.

Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress, by Sarwat Chadda. What I loved about this book was the way Chadda has created a world of his own from Indian myths and legends and dropped a 21st Century geek, slap-bang in the middle of it. Ash isn’t your typical hero, but then this isn’t your typical YA book. Great stuff.

The Mortal Engines books, by Philip Reeves. These books are almost too big to be contained by pages. I don’t mean that they’re long, but the scale of Reeves’ vision is epic. And the characters are beautifully flawed, some of them wearing their scars as testament to their fallibility. It’s Steampunk at its best, because the ‘s world he’s created doesn’t overshadow the characters, but you’re always aware that it’s there.

The Suicide Club, by Rhys Thomas. Like the title suggests, this is a dark book – but only in as much as it explores the darker side of the teenage psyche. It’s also about love, friendship and betrayal and is an utterly absorbing read. I really enjoyed it.

Exodus, by Julie Bertagna. Set in an alternative reality, where Earth has flooded, this is a great novel about betrayal on a personal and a global scale. The sequel, Zenith, is just as action-packed and engaging. The unsettling aspect of this book is not only the potential for the world to end up underwater, but the way that the remaining societies organise themselves. The three survivors, Mara, Tuck and Fox are superbly engaging.

The Black Book of Secrets, by FE Higgins. It’s a brilliant conceit, brilliantly executed: Joe Zabbidou buys people’s secrets and he’s looking for an apprentice. Enter Ludlow Fitch, the hero of the piece. I loved the idea, the writing and pretty much everything about this book. I have read it several times and don’t get tired of it.

Triskellion, by Will Peterson. I liked this book because of its simplicity. Yes, there are plenty of twists and turns but, at its heart, it’s a Good vs Evil kind of ride. It’s set in a quiet, English village where two American kids, Rachel and Adam, sent to stay with their grandmother. And, of course, everything is not what it seems… The great thing is that the author doesn’t dumb-down; I think may writers underestimate Young Adults but, if you think back, you were easily capable of pretty sophisticated thoughts and feelings. And, nostalgically, this book reminds me of episodes of Classic Dr Who, where everything was a slow-burner, capped of with a cracking reveal.

While I’m here, I’d just like to offer up my thanks to all the bloggers and reviewers who’ve taken the time to give my book the once-over. I can only hope that it ends up on someone’s Top Ten, somewhere down the line…