UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


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Author Kate Kelly’s UKYA Top 10

KateIt was hard to choose a top ten – there are so many great UKYA books that I would have loved to include – but here, in no particular order, are my favourites.

1. Arabesque – Colin Mulhern
Gangsters and criminals – and one girl caught in the middle – this is the sort of down to earth gritty crime that I love.

2. Firebrand – Gillian Philip
A wonderful fantasy – a book that draws you in and doesn’t let you go.

3. The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extense
This is a really brilliant book, moving and profound. You’ll think about things differently after reading this!

4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
No list would be complete without including these. What more can I say.

5. The Dreamwalker’s Child – Steve Voake
An all time favourite of mine – powerful fantasy with a wonderfully imagined world.

6. Looking for JJ – Anne Cassidy
Cleverly structured – moving between past and present- a past life that is being kept hidden. Gripping stuff!

7. Blood Ties – Sophie McKenzie
A superb fast paced thriller with a real ethical issue at its core

8. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Dystopia at its best – thought provoking. A classic for its time.

9. His Dark Materials series – Philip Pullman
There is so much depth to these books – wonderful characters, fantastic settings and quite simply a brilliant story and concept.

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon
Sheer brilliance. This is a book that fully deserved all the accolades it has received.

Kate Kelly is a marine scientist by day but by night she writes SF thrillers for kids. Her love of the sea inspires many of the themes in her writing. Kate’s debut novel Red Rock is published by Curious Fox in September 2013.

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Savita Kalhan’s Top 10 UKYA books

UKYA author Savita Kalhan chooses her Top 10 books.

Choosing my favourites for any top ten list is hard, choosing favourites from the wonderful talent in UK YA is almost impossible! It’s not made any easier by the fact that as fast as I read, I barely seem to make a dent in my TBR pile. Also, I know I will have missed some books that I’ve absolutely loved reading and that some books in my TBR pile would have made it to this list if I’d had more time to read.

Anyhow, enough excuses, this is my current top ten list, in no particular order, and yes I’ve managed to throw in a few trilogies and counted them as one!

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy – Although I read this book some time ago, the story has stayed with me. It is an unflinchingly told and compelling story of a child who has killed, now grown up and rejoining society.

Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip. Firebrand and Bloodstone
I love fantasy and this is one of the best series in recent years. It’s darkly beautiful. I’m champing at the bit for the third book.

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet
Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, this book was so rich in detail you could have been inside the story. It’s both funny and moving as it explores first love, class and the politics that almost got the world blown up. It’s a great read.

Stolen, A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
It begins with a young girl, Gemma, who is abducted at an airport by a young man named Ty, and from the very beginning the book has an original voice that draws you in. The descriptions are so vivid they jump off the page, and the main characters are utterly believable.

A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
I love Dowd’s writing, it’s poetic and powerful stuff, and this book in particular resonated with me. The rural Ireland that it’s set in is only 1984, but you might think it was far earlier than that. Shell, the main character is bound by her upbringing, by the traditions, religious faith and society that surround her.

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
Pregnant women are dying of an incurable disease and the future of humankind is at stake, so yes, the book is dystopian, but it’s not an unrecognisable future. It’s one that’s disturbingly close. And the Sleeping Beauties? A very scary idea.

Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman
Sheer brilliance from a great writer.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
One of my favourite fantasy trilogies. Bartimaeus, the genii, is an inspired character, wry, sardonic and world-weary, he’s endlessly fascinating.

Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness
As soon as I started reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, I was hooked. I loved the invention of The Noise, and glad I was a woman so I didn’t have to hear it! A great series.

Rowan the Strange by Julie Hearn
It’s 1939 and 13 year old Ro, after one episode too many, is sent to a lunatic asylum to undergo a new treatment: electric shock therapy. Every single character in this book is brilliantly drawn, and Ro and his dorm mate Dorothea, are inspired. The book is extremely heart-breaking.


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Best of British: Blogger Nicky Schmidt

South African writer Nicky Schmidt blogs at  Absolute Vanilla  a great place to read YA interviews, reviews and Nicky’s thoughts. She’s picked her Best of British for UKYA.

YA author

Kevin Brooks

Book (teen)

Lucas by Kevin Brooks; Also Wasted by Nicola Morgan; Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip; How I live Now and There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

Book (kids)

The Crestomanci Series by Diana Wynne Jones, The Narnia Stories, The Secret Garden, The Little White Horse – and too many more to mention.

Shop

Hamleys (HUGE London toy shop)

TV programme

At the moment, Downton Abbey

Film

Too many to list!

Designer

Vivienne Westwood, simply because she is so iconic!


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Firebrand by Gillian Philip

It is the last decade of the sixteenth century: a time of religious wars in the full-mortal world. But the Sithe are at peace, hidden behind the Veil that protects their world until their queen, Kate NicNiven, determines to destroy it.

Seth MacGregor is the half-feral son of a Sithe nobleman. When his father is assassinated, and Seth is exiled with his brother Conal to the full-mortal world, they vow not only to survive, but to return to reclaim their fortress and save the Veil. But even the Veil s power cannot protect the brothers when the brutal witch-hunts begin…

Brimming with intrigue and rebellion, Firebrand is the first book in the Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip, the Carnegie Medal-nominated author of Crossing the Line and multi-award nominated Bad Faith.

Visit Gillian’s website


Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip

Nick Geddes is the loneliest thug in school, but that’s not entirely his own fault. True, he should never have thrown in his lot with the homicidal Kev Naughton in the first place, but he’s trying to live down his past.

It isn’t his fault his mother is a New Age hippy chick with a mortifying god-slot on local radio; as far as he knows it isn’t him who drives his father to drink. Nick isn’t the one who hangs out shoplifting with an imaginary friend: that’s his deranged sister Allie.

Worst of all, the girl he loves hates him with a passion, and that’s understandable. But it wasn’t Nick who stabbed Orla Mahon’s brother to death with a kitchen knife…

Shortlisted for the Stockport Schools’ Book Award 2010, and the Angus Book Award 2010

Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2010, Wirral Paperback of the Year, and the North Lanarkshire Catalyst Award

Visit Gillian’s website