UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


COMING SOON: All of the Above by James Dawson

23156540When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen.

Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly…love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

Advertisements


Under My Skin by James Dawson

23058143Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’.


Say Her Name by James Dawson

18621200Roberta ‘Bobbie’ Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of ‘Bloody Mary’: say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear… But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror… five days… but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before…


1 Comment

Guest post: Emma Haughton’s Top 5 UKYA Contemporary Thrillers

NowYouSeeMe_frontcover_green Oh god, the agonising! So hard to pick five. But here goes, and in no particular order.

1. Daylight Saving by Ed Hogan

I loved this book, and am on a one-woman mission to get everyone to read it. I am cheating a bit because although it is a contemporary YA thriller, it does have a supernatural element. A thriller ghost story – what’s not to love? But actually what I liked best about this book is its humour. Hogan does great comedy, and the portrayal of Daniel’s hapless, somewhat depressed father had me laughing out loud. But the story is also moving and poignant, and impossible to put down. Go on, go and read it right now!

2. The Glass Demon by Helen Grant

So many things to love about this book, and many of them unusual. The setting of a small German town, the beautiful prose, and slow build give The Glass Demon the feel of a literary classic, but Grant can do scary and sinister like no one else. I loved the spooky, horror elements, and warmed to the protagonist Lin and her reluctant relationship with a neighbouring boy. But more than anything I loved the portrayal of her utterly narcissistic step-mother, Tuesday, whose laziness and blithe self-regard are painfully funny. And I so worried about the fate of the legendary Allerheiligen stained glass, which has me just as anxious for its safety as the priceless painting in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch.

3. Cruel Summer by James Dawson

Cruel Summer offers a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek twist on the classic whodunit, with a cast of the impossibly young and beautiful in a glamorous Mediterranean setting. Sharp, sassy and uber-cool, like Josh Whedon’s meta-horror flick Cabin in the Woods Dawson grabs all the horror tropes and turns them inside out, playing out all the clichés with conscious irony through Ryan, who narrates everything in his head as if it were a TV show. A clever, postmodern blend of horror and suspense, chilling and amusing by turns.

4. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

Taking us deep into the psyche of a convicted child killer, Looking for JJ has rightly become something of a YA classic. A brave and daring novel, whose author manages to keep us completely on the side of protagonist Alice Tully; despite knowing what she’s done, Cassidy has us rooting for her success in establishing a new life. It’s not an entirely comfortable read, in that Cassidy doesn’t take the easy route of exonerating Alice from her crime, but shows by slow, painful degrees just how one child might be driven to kill another, and how our only just response is forgiveness and understanding. Harrowing stuff, and I can’t wait to read the recently released sequel, Finding Jennifer Jones.

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Okay, I may be stretching the definition of YA just a little here, and possibly that of a thriller too, but I couldn’t resist including Mark Haddon’s masterpiece. Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone is one of literature’s great teenage sleuths, and The Curious Incident is a fabulous whodunnit, albeit if the victim is a dog. By showing us the everyday through the prism of profound Asperger syndrome, Haddon gives us the world afresh. Clever, profound and deeply moving.

Emma Haughton’s own contemporary YA thriller, Now You See Me is published by Usborne today. A one-time family and travel journalist, Emma’s second novel, Better Left Buried, comes out next year.

Visit Emma’s website at http://www.emmahaughton.com for more details, connect with her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/emmahaughtonwriter or chat with her on Twitter: @Emma_Haughton #NowYouSeeMe


UKYA Top Books of 2013 part 2

topquietnessKaren Saunders, author of Me, Suzy P : The Quietness by Alison Rattle  is a beautifully written piece of historical fiction, and a fascinating insight into the darker side of Victorian society.

 

 

 

Teri Terry, author of Slated and Fractured: Shine by Candy Gourlay, because it sutopshinerprised me, went places I wasn’t expecting, and I got lost in reading it as a reader without analyzing it the whole time (not something I manage as often as I’d like)

 

 

Sophia Bennett, author of the Threads series, The Look and You Don’t Know Me: 417zg-BNx9L._SY445_Cruel Summer by James Dawson. Great characters, great horror references and some brilliant twists. Great cover too.

 

 

 

ghosthawkKatie Moran, author of  Bloodline and  Hidden Among Us:  Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper, a beautiful and brutal account of the years following first contact between European settlers and the Native American tribes they encountered. It has the most shocking plot twist I’ve ever read, too.”

 

 

CJ Daugherty, author of the Night School series: The Falconer by Elizabeth May. Feisty female lead, evocative Scottish setting and a falconergenuinely steamy romance. Also steam punk elements, fairies and lots of FIGHTING. Addictive as hell.