Tanya Byrne, author of Heart-Shaped Bruise, chooses her Top 10 UKYA books.
Before I Die by Jenny Downham
I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to read this book because I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But as soon as I read the opening lines – I wish I had a boyfriend. I wish he lived in the wardrobe on a coat hanger. Whenever I wanted, I could get him out and he’d look at me the way boys do in films, as if I’m beautiful. – I knew it was a very special book.
Doing It by Melvin Burgess
With hindsight, I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was by Doing It. I guess I’ve read so much YA where the most couples do is hold hands that I almost dropped this book several times when reading it. But sexy times aside, what I love most about Doing It is that it’s so honest. It gave me the courage to be more honest with my own book.
Entangled by Cat Clarke
I adore Entangled. It’s deliciously dark and very brave for a debut. Like Doing It, it’s breathtakingly honest and deals with issues like binge drinking and self-harming without being preachy or condescending. I also love the cover. [/shallow]
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
I’ve only just started reading this, but O to the M to the G. Not everyone will want to read this (that’s how I heard about it, actually, during a twitter discussion on censorship), but again this is a startlingly brave book. Are you sensing a theme here with UKYA?
Jessie Hearts NYC – Keris Stainton
I love New York so I want to draw hearts around this book, if you pardon the pun. It’s sweet and funny and I’m a bit in love with Finn. Of all the YA books I’ve read, he’s one of the few boys I still find myself thinking about. I can see him so clearly, standing on that curb with too much gel in his hair, trying to hail a cab with a bunch of peonies in his hand.
Just in Case – Meg Rosoff
I’m ashamed to admit that this is the only Meg Rosoff book I’ve read. I know. I know. But Just in Case is fantastic and, you won’t be surprised to hear, beautifully written. I’m also ashamed to admit that it took me far too long to make the Justin Case/Just in Case connection.
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Bow down. Even you. *points* Yes, you. Why aren’t you bowing? This book. THIS BOOK. Yes, it’s disturbing and painful and so loud it’s uncomfortable to read at times, but it’s also tender and beautiful and if even a handful of the people who read it think about what it’s trying to say, then that makes it a very important book.
Stolen – Lucy Christopher
I couldn’t wait to read this book. I’ve always been fascinated by Stockholm Syndrome so I devoured this in one sitting. I wanted Christopher to go there, I waited for her to go there, but she didn’t. Perhaps she was right not to, after all, I’ve read far too many YA books where unhealthy relationships are portrayed as romantic and yeah, no more of that, please. All of that aside, the writing is stunning. The descriptions of the Outback had me sweating at times.
The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
I was going to put A Monster Calls on this list because that made me cry so much the bloke sitting opposite me on the train asked me if I was okay. But then I remembered that I haven’t read the final book in this trilogy because I don’t want it to end, that’s how much I love this book. I really can’t say more than that.
Wasted – Nicola Morgan
The premise of this book is very clever: Jack makes decisions based on the flip of a coin. In the end, you’re presented with two outcomes that you have to choose between. As I said, very clever. I was rapt.