UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


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Author Louisa Reid’s Top 10 UKYA books

picLouisa Reid, author of Black Heart Blue and Lies Like Love, picks her Top 10 UKYA books “in no particular order!”

1. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner

This book made me cry. It’s terrifying and clever and beautifully written in clear, sharp prose with an ending so heart-breaking and powerful that it had me reeling for ages after. An amazing piece of fiction.

follow-me-down2. Follow Me Down by Tanya Byrne

I love Tanya’s writing for its originality and vivid detail and also because she isn’t afraid of the dark side. A brilliant book about boarding school mayhem, teenage danger and desire. I read this with relish.

3. Heroic by Phil Earle

Heroic is a fabulous novel with wonderful characters and relationships that feel really real. Definitely one to read if you want something fast-paced but also tender.

127434724. Slated trilogy by Teri Terry

I love dystopian fiction and Teri’s novels are wonderful. I couldn’t pick one out of all of them so I’m having them all! The twists and turns are brilliantly plotted and keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. Also these novels are a perfect example of how to use dream sequences to brilliant effect.

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I’m a sucker for war novels and this one really is well written. The powerful friendships and the heroism of the main characters is wonderfully portrayed.

unknown56. A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd

This is a brilliant and beautiful book. It engrossed me from start to finish with its powerful evocation of grief and the frightening consequences of loneliness and alcoholism.

7. Trouble by Non Pratt

I’d have loved this book as a teenager and I loved it as an adult reader, even going so far as to badger its poor author for a sequel because I couldn’t bear for it to end! Fab characters and themes – teenage pregnancy, in particular, is dealt with in an original and challenging way and the moral questions posed really had me thinking.

looking-for-jj8. Looking for JJ and Finding Jennifer Jones by Anne Cassidy

Another cheat, sorry! Two for the price of one. I have to admit to only just reading the brilliant Looking for JJ but I’m glad I waited as it meant I could binge on the sequel too. I love that book box set feeling because I have no patience and have to guzzle everything all at once. Anyway, these are fascinating novels with a tricky and challenging premise. Wonderful.

9. The Tulip Touch by Anne Fine

An old favourite. I first encountered this book early in my teaching career and remember the class loving its darkness, just as did I. Twisted friendships and horrific family secrets make this one a gripping and taut read.

pop_cover10. Pop! by Catherine Bruton

I love Catherine’s writing. She creates wonderful characters with distinctive and original voices. I could really see and hear every detail of this book. It’s a great read with a setting that’s perfect for someone who often misses the grim North (only joking about the grim bit!)

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Heroic by Phil Earle

heroic‘For the past five weeks I’d prayed that I’d never see my brother’s name spelt out in poppies. In the weeks that followed I often wished I had.’

Jammy and Sonny McGann are brothers, but that’s where the similarities end. One is calm when the other is angry; one has a plan while the other lives purely in the moment.

When Jammy returns from Afghanistan a very different man to the one who left, it’s Sonny who is left to hold things together. But just how far will he go to save the brother who always put him first?


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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 🙂


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Most anticipated UKYA books in 2013 by Michelle of Fluttering Butterflies

When I read lovely Michelle’s fabulous Top 10 post today, I just had to ask if we could pinch it and post it here too. So many fab-sounding books! Over to Michelle…

Dead Romantic by CJ Skuse

I adore CJ Skuse! And the cover for this one makes me happy. Look out for it in February!

Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete’s body and a poet’s brain. But when she’s mocked at a college party, she kows there isn’t a boy alive who’ll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille’s dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee. But can she make him love her?

Cruel Summer by James Dawson

It was only recently that I read and loved Hollow Pike! And in August, we’ll be sure to have another delight from James Dawson:

One year after the suicide of one of their friends, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean. They’re hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives – claiming to have evidence that the suicide was actually murder. When she is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of them – but who is it? And will they strike again? A compelling psychological thriller – with a dash of romance.

Undone by Cat Clarke

Published by Quercus in January! Cat Clarke is definitely one of my favourites and is definitely an ‘auto-buy’ author – 

Jem Halliday is in love with her gay best friend. Not exactly ideal, but she’s learning to live with it. Then the unspeakable happens. Kai is outed online … and he kills himself. Jem knows nothing she can say or do will bring him back. But she wants to know who was responsible. And she wants to take them down. A searing story of love, revenge and betrayal from a bestselling author.

The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning

No cover for this one yet, but due to be published by Atom in May –  about two best friends fighting over the same boy. I do love Sarra Manning!
So much.

The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott

No cover for this one either, but I do so love Zoe’s other books. They’ve frequently been on my favourite books of the year lists. This one isn’t expected until July –  

When Mio steals the family’s katana – a priceless ancestral sword – from her parents’ attic, she just wants to spice up a fancy-dress costume. But the katana is much more than some dusty antique and her actions unleash a terrible, ancient evil onto the streets of unsuspecting London. Soon Shinobu, a fearless warrior boy, appears to protect Mio – and threatens to steal her heart. With the gods and monsters of Japanese myth stalking her and her friends, Mio realizes that if she cannot keep the sword safe, and learn to control its legendary powers, she will lose not only her own life … but the love of a lifetime.

Heroic by Phil Earle

I’ve loved the previous two books I’ve read by Phil Earle, so I’m eagerly awaiting this book, published by Penguin in April –

‘For the past five weeks I’d prayed that I’d never see my brother’s name spelt out in poppies. In the months that followed I often wished I had.’

Jammy and Sonny McGann are brothers, but that’s where the similarities end. One is calm when the other is angry; one has a plan while the other lives purely in the moment. 

When Jammy returns from Afghanistan a very different man to the one who left, it’s Sonny who is left to hold things together. But just how far will he go to save the brother who always put him first?
Inspired by S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and by the battles facing young soldiers all over the world, this is a devastating novel about brotherhood and sacrifice, from the award-winning author of Being Billy and Saving Daisy.

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff

Look for the new Meg Rosoff from Penguin in March!

From author’s blog: “it’s a heartrending future classic, soon to be a major motion picture, not to mention a thoughtful, insanely sophisticated exploration of the relationship between adults and children. It contains a gigantic easter egg, lots of French toast and a weed whacker.”

Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma

I’ve been trying desperately to get my hands on all of the books by Tabitha, especially after that emotional rollercoaster of Forbidden. I think I will always look forward to her books. Hurt has no cover just yet, but will be published (hopefully!) in August.  

Acid by Emma Pass

This book is due out in April by Random House! I’m really looking forward to it:

2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.

The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.

Night School: Legacy by CJ DaughertyHaving loved the first book in this series, I was always going to be excited to read its sequel.  Set in this creepy boarding school, I can’t wait to get back into this series and catch up with the characters. Luckily, I don’t have long to wait as it will be published by Atom in January!

In the last year, Allie’s survived three arrests, two breakups and one family breakdown. The only bright point has been her new life at Cimmeria Academy. It’s the one place she’s felt she belongs. And the fact that it’s brought the dreamy Carter West into her life hasn’t hurt. . .

But far from being a safe haven, the cloistered walls of Cimmeria are proving more dangerous than Allie could’ve imagined. The students, and faculty, are under threat and Allie’s family – from her mysterious grandma to her runaway brother – are at the centre of the storm.

Allie is going to have to choose between protecting her family and trusting her friends. But secrets have a way of ripping even the strongest relationships apart. . .

Thanks so much for letting us cross-post this, Michelle. 

Which UKYA book are you keenest to read in 2013? Tell us in the comments. 


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Being Billy by Phil Earle

Faces flashed before my eyes.

And for every face there was a time that they had let me down.

Each punch that landed was revenge, my chance to tell them I hadn’t forgotten what they did.

Eight years in a care home makes Billy Finn a professional lifer. And Billy’s angry – with the system, the social workers, and the mother that gave him away.

As far as Billy’s concerned, he’s on his own. His little brother and sister keep him going, though they can’t keep him out of trouble.

But he isn’t being difficult on purpose. Billy’s just being Billy. He can’t be anything else.

Can he?

Visit Phil’s website