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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Writer Lucy Marcovitch’s Top 10 UKYA books

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA1. Skellig by David Almond – I read this when it was first published and I’ve never read anything so unique, haunting and beautiful since. Although he came very close with My Name is Mina!

2. Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty – a completely un-judgemental, un-preachy, honest and sensitive book about teenage pregnancy. I wish I could write a book half as real as this one. I think it should be on the sex education curriculum!

3. The Writing on the Wall by Lynne Reid Banks – I read this book in the 80s as a teenager, and it was the one which inspired me to want to write for young adults. It’s the perfect model of everything you’re told in creative writing classes about how to craft a story for YA.

4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd – probably the most powerful evocation of grief in any book for children or adults that I’ve read. It’s a true modern classic, and the uniqueness of its authorship makes it more powerful. It also wouldn’t be half as powerful without the illustrations, which sets it apart in another way, as an illustrated YA book.

5. Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls – if only I could write a first novel as beautiful as this one! I wept buckets at the end. I think it’s a shame it was eclipsed by other books with a similar theme that were published at the same time, as I think it is much more superior than any of them, being so under-stated.

6. My Name is Mina by David Almond – I love how David Almond’s characters take on lives of their own, even when they aren’t the main characters. This ia another beautiful book – for a while it was touch and go whether it surpassed Skellig for me!

7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling – when I was a teacher I kept reading articles by libraries about this brilliant book about a boy wizard. I read it in one weekend, then tried it out on my class. I have never seen 35 10 and 11 year-olds sit so still and beg me to read more after 3.30. It’s hard to remember that in 1996 there wasn’t another book quite like it.

8. The Witch’s Daughter – Nina Bawden is best known for Carrie’s War, but I I always preferred this mystery story. None of the characters are stereotypes – even the baddies have a human face. And the name Perdita always fascinated me, especially as I couldn’t work out how to pronounce it!

9. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer – classic time slip book that inspired my favourite teenage band The Cure. What could be more exciting for a young adult?!

10. The Edge of the Cloud by KM Peyton – I’d choose all the Flambards books, but at a push this one is my favourite. It’s a beautiful combination of love story and historical novel, romantic and exciting – Christina and Will are living the life all older teenagers would dream of. And of course it makes the opening tragedy of the third novel even more unbearably tragic!

Check out Lucy’s blog http://lucymarcovitch.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @lucym808


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The Top 10 Best-Ever UKYA novels – as voted by YOU

I know, I know, it’s taken a while, but we had over 1000 votes – how brilliant is that? So here, without further ado, are (in reverse order)…

THE TOP 10 BEST-EVER UKYA NOVELS (as voted by YOU):

10) A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd

9) Lila series – Sarah Alderson

8) C.H.E.R.U.B. series – Robert Muchamore

7) Chaos Walking trilogy – Patrick Ness

6) The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and 3/4 – Sue Townsend

5) I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith

4) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon

3) Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman

2) His Dark Materials series – Philip Pullman

1) Harry Potter series – JK Rowling


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La Jongleuse chooses her Top 10 UKYA novels

The blogger knows as Jongleuse chooses her Top 10 books. 

1) Siobhan Dowd A Swift Pure Cry

Simply one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking books in any genre I’ve ever read.

2) Julie Bertagna Exodus and sequels

Julie Bertagna has deservedly cropped up on many best of YA lists. Her post-global warming trilogy spanning generations and continents, as well as being exquisitely written, is a great adventure story.

3) David Almond, My Name is Mina

Prequel to Skellig, but not like any other prequel you’ve read. Anything and everything by David Almond is worth reading.

4) Meg Rosoff, There is No Dog

How I live Now is Meg’s best-known book, but I loved this quirky tale of a teenage boy playing God, delivered, as usual, in Meg’s precise, beautiful prose.

5) Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men and sequels

What to say about Sir Terry? If you’re a fan of fantasy, humour and metaphysics in equal quantities, the Tiffany Aching series is a brilliant place to start, although most of his output is eminently YA suitable anyway.

6) Anthony McGowan, Henry Tumour

Funny, sad and outrageous.

7) Celia Rees, Witch Child

This one really pushed the boundaries of historical fiction, away from bodice-rippers to something darker and more thought provoking.

8) Kevin Brooks, Naked

Brooks’ writing is taut and clever. Being (only just) old enough to remember punk first time round I loved this book about a teen punk rock star and her involvement with a young man who has a troubled past. Anything by Brooks is worth reading, however.

9) Jan Mark, They do things differently there

Jan Mark is not much read these days (sadly I think this one’s out of print) but she was outrageously talented. This story of two girls who invent an alternative world (Stalemate) in their boring New Town is brilliantly original.

10) Scarlett Thomas, The End of Mr. Y

Not marketed a YA but older teens would adore this weird, heady fantasy with heavy literary pretensions. I love the idea of the Alex awards in the USA where non-YA books are rewarded for being great teen reads.


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A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd

Ireland 1984.

After Shell’s mother dies, her obsessively religious father descends into alcoholic mourning and Shell is left to care for her younger brother and sister. Her only release from the harshness of everyday life comes from her budding spiritual friendship with a naive young priest, and most importantly, her developing relationship with childhood friend, Declan, who is charming, eloquent, and persuasive.

But when Declan suddenly leaves Ireland to seek his fortune in America, Shell finds herself pregnant and the center of a scandal that rocks the small community in which she lives, with repercussions across the whole country. The lives of those immediately around her will never be the same again.

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