UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


Kat Ellis’s Top 10 UKYA books

katWhen I started thinking about my top 10 UKYA picks, I decided I wanted to put something a little  different out there, and highlight some books that are brand new favourites, or maybe haven’t had as much exposure as some other titles. So my picks are ALL (I hope!) books that haven’t yet been featured on this site as Top 10s. In no particular order…

1. THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich

This doesn’t come out until the summer, but I was lucky enough to read it early. Carly and Kaitlyn are the Johnson sisters – two girls who inhabit one body. Carly gets the day, and Kaitlyn has the night – though nobody believes Kaitlyn is real. Diary entries, psychologists’ reports, and recovered video footage shine a light on The Johnson Incident – the night where Elmbridge Academy burned down, killing several students. Amazingly dark and creepy!

eren2. EREN by Simon P Clark

Tell the story to its end, the monster tells Oli. This is a haunting novel about secrets and stories and finding our own truth, and it’ll appeal to fans of A Monster Calls and Skellig, in particular.

3. THE HANGED MAN RISES by Sarah Naughton

This story is set in a Victorian London where a killer hunts children by night. It has a Jack-the-Ripper-ish feel to it, with a dose of dark magic and creepy supernatural goings on.

prettybadthings4. PRETTY BAD THINGS by CJ Skuse

This was the first of CJ’s books I read, but I could have mentioned any of them as an instant favourite. It tells the story of Paisley and Beau, the ‘wonder twins’, who go on a crime spree across the US in a bid to find their long-lost father. It’s hilarious and heart-wrenching, and just great fun.

5. TINDER by Sally Gardner

This is a fairytale retelling of The Tinderbox, and it has a really dreamy, abstract quality to it that’s totally absorbing. The illustrations in it are wonderful, and bring the story to life.

getimage_195_300_c1_center_center_0_0_16. THE SAVAGES by Matt Whyman

Sasha comes from a family of cannibals, so maybe bringing her vegetarian boyfriend home for dinner wasn’t such a great idea…This book is darkly funny and very original.

7. THE YEAR OF THE RAT by Clare Furniss

Pearl’s mother died giving birth to ‘The Rat’ – Pearl’s baby sister. This is the story of the year that follows, and it’s hilarious as well as heart-breaking. I started crying when I reached page 14, and didn’t really stop until the end. I almost had to be put on a drip.

bunkerdiary8. THE BUNKER DIARY by Kevin Brooks

This won the Carnegie Medal last year, and definitely deserved to. Teenager Linus is abducted and held in an underground bunker with 5 other people, with no way out unless their captor lets them go… Gripping stuff!

9. JON FOR SHORT by Malorie Blackman

This short, weird book with illustrations by Vladimir Stankovic is a twisted little nightmare, where Jon’s limbs are taken one by one each night as he sleeps. I bought this one for the cover, but it has really burned itself into my brain.

killingwoods10. THE KILLING WOODS by Lucy Christopher – I had high expectations after STOLEN broke my heart, and Lucy definitely gave it another shattering with her second YA novel. Emily’s dad, suffering from PTSD, is accused of killing a girl in the woods. But as Emily finds out more about what happens in the woods late at night, it’s not so clear who is to blame for the girl’s death… tense, thrilling, and sinister.

And that’s it! Hopefully I have stuck to my own rules and not duplicated any from other lists, but feel free to call me out on it if I have. I will give a special mention to 3 I would’ve included if they hadn’t already appeared elsewhere: TROUBLE by Non Pratt, SKIN DEEP by Laura Jarratt, and THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS by Gavin Extence.


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Guest post: Lucy Powrie on #UKYAchat

Lucy Powrie, who blogs as Queen of Contemporary, is a big supporter of UKYA. Last week, she hosted a UKYA chat on Twitter and it was a great success so we asked her to tell us a bit more about it…

 

The majority of authors and bloggers now use Twitter. Twitter is a huge platform that helps to connect people together and, personally, I am addicted to it. On Friday 19th July, I hosted a UKYA themed Twitter chat and was amazed at the reception it got. According to my rough calculations, I think around 30-40 people joined in, including authors, publishing people, bloggers and readers of UKYA.

Both fashion bloggers and beauty bloggers have their own chats, and I saw a gap. I wanted to get more people excited about UKYA and we don’t have anything like this in the UKYA. With the Olympics and golden jubilee last year, I thought it was about time that people got excited about UKYA books, and what better way than talking about them with other people?

From the chat, it was clear that people really want to see more character diversity in UKYA and I think this reflects well on our multi-cultural country. Ethnicity and diversity came up a lot.

Readers are also in need of a good fantasy or urban fantasy. People want more than just the contemporary novels that are so prominent at the moment, and taking a look at my UKYA shelf shows this.

Books that were mentioned quite a lot included ACID by Emma Pass and Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt. Both popped up on nearly every question and, being two of my favourite UKYA novels, this really pleased me. ACID is a scarily realistic dystopian and Skin Deep deals with body image and stereotypes.

One of the things I loved most about the chat was that everyone was equal. It’s very easy for bloggers and authors to feel separate from each other, but in this chat everyone was alike.

Following the success of this first chat, I have decided to stage another one at the end of August, date to be confirmed. I’ve had loads of tweets since finishing from people who missed the chat but really wanted to join in, and so I’m hoping that even more people will turn up for the next one.

I also have lots of other UKYA plans in the works, which I’m hoping will happen in the next few months. It’s a very exciting time for the UKYA community and it makes me happy to think that from the chat, people will go out and buy these books. Supporting our authors is very important.


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Amber Kirk-Ford of The Mile Long Bookshelf chooses her Top 10 UKYA books

image1. By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt – Some amazing action-packed scenes and surprising plot twists!

2. Undone by Cat Clarke – A heartbreaking story of romance and revenge.

3. The Boy From France by Hilary Freeman – Funny, realistic and full of adventure! The characters felt real and it was a nice break from the books I usually read.

4. Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton – The reason why I am now obsessed with LA! A really fun story to read, a great way to escape the stresses of real life. It left me smiling!

5. Boys Don’t Cry by Malorie Blackman – A hard-hitting realistic novel about the drama teenagers face every day. Definitely worth a read!

6. Finding Cherokee Brown by Siobhan Curham – Anyone who has been involved in bullying in any way, should read this book. It carries a really powerful message and manages to stay funny and light-hearted at the same time.

7. Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja – A really sweet, romantic story that will make you smile and laugh whilst reading it.

8. Almost True by Keren David – Almost True is full of action and it is scarily realistic. This will keep you hooked from the first page!

9. Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce – An inspiring and truthful story set in a hospital ward about two teenagers with cancer, falling in love. I highly recommend this book.

10. Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper – Set in London in 1861, ‘Fallen Grace’ is about a girl who faces constant danger. It’s an excellent book!

Read Amber’s blog, The Mile Long Bookshelf, or follow her on Twitter, @MileLongBookS


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Serendipity Viv’s UKYA Books of the Year

When Keris asked me to pick my favourite UKYA books for 2012, I thought it would be a complete doddle…until I realised how many blooming excellent books I had read in this category. So I’ve written and rewritten my list, lost sleep over it, scribbled out names only to replace them five minutes later and finally I think I can name my top ten. In fact, I might even do a Ross Geller from Friends and laminate it, just so I can flash it around at author events. If you’re on my list, I can talk to you, right?

Anyway my list is in no particular order but I do have one book shining like a star at the top of the list.

images-2My number one UKYA book of the year is Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne. Seriously I loved this book so much. Full of emotion that grated my feelings to the bone. Judging by the awards that this book has been nominated for I guess I ‘m not the only one feeling this way about this book.

Now here is the rest of my list which is in no particular order.

15 Days Without A Head by Dave Cousins is an amazing gritty debut, which makes you laugh in some places and cry in others.

WhatsUpWithJodyBartonWhat’s Up with Jody Barton? by Hayley Long should get an award for the biggest best kept secret ever. Half way through the book I was completely blown away.

Saving Daisy by Phil Earle – another book to rip me to shreds.  Phil writes from the heart and you can tell as you weep buckets, always desperate for a brighter outcome for his main characters.

Arabesque by Colin Mulhern– If Martina Cole wrote YA then this would be the type of book she would write. Compelling and shocking at times to read but one hell of a thriller.

Skin Deep by Laura Jarrett – a beautiful love story where a young couple defy everyone that goes against their relationship. Just simply gorgeous.

unknown-1Unrest by Michelle Harrison – this lovely lady seems to be able to turn her hand to any subject matter. She has swiftly moved from fairies to ghosts and scared the beejeesus out of me in the process.

FrostFire by Zoe Marriott – I just adore the way Zoe writes. Her imagination amazes me; her creative mind just wows me.

Emma Hearts LA  by Keris Stainton – I loved being swept away to California! Keris has a way of writing that makes me feel like I really am the main character.

12367267The Glimpse by Claire Merle – I had to check this one was valid because Clare no longer lives in the UK, but thank fully it does. Raise your glasses to a UK based dystopian novel. We can do it too my lovely American friends!

I was just about to write three more that need to go on my list when I realised I’d run out of room on my laminated card. So I’m going to stick a bright pink post it note on the side mentioning that Hollow Pike by James Dawson, Torn by Cat Clarke and Night School by C.J Daugherty also rocked my socks off, but mean Keris Stainton told me I could only choose ten!* Harrumph!

* I actually asked her to pick just one – Mean Keris Stainton 🙂


Jim of YA Yeah Yeah’s UKYA Books of the Year

images3Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Along with Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere, one of the two most heartbreaking books I’ve ever read, and the most heartbreaking of all UKYA. Simply perfectly written.

Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt

The best debut of the year by some way, Jarratt’s novel deals with disfigurement, prejudice, mental illness, and recovering from tragedy with great skill and compassion.

images9The Things We Did For Love by Natasha Farrant

While it seems to have been overshadowed somewhat by the success of Code Name Verity, Farrant’s own WWII novel is an exquisite book. It’s beautifully written, captures the feel for the period perfectly, and made me cry.

Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill

700 pages or so and not a wasted word. Absolute genius at work, with a huge mass of plotlines woven together perfectly.

14897519Silenced by Simon Packham

This book about a boy struggling to cope with the death of his best friend stands out because of the huge warmth and surprising amount of humour found in it.