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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NEWS: First ever UK YA convention announced

The wonderful Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman has announced the UK’s first ever YA literature convention.

But that’s not all! Malorie has also announced a campaign to support YA fiction in the UK, which is obviously completely brilliant news.

The convention will take place at the London Film and Comic Con 2014 and will feature author events – including talks, workshops, and signings – a book sales area, and publisher stands promoting new and upcoming titles.

We’re obviously very excited and can’t wait to hear even more about it.

What do you think? Will you be going? Who would you like to see there?


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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.


Noble Conflict by Malorie Blackman

imagesYears after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony. But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy.

When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realises he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really fighting for.

Chosen as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best Children’s Books


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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