UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


Zero Hour (Department 19 #4) by Will Hill

18590476When Jamie Carpenter’s mother is kidnapped by strange creatures, he finds himself dragged into Department 19, the government’s most secret agency.

Fortunately for Jamie, Department 19 can provide the tools he needs to find his mother, and to kill the vampires who want him dead. But unfortunately for everyone, something much older is stirring, something even Department 19 can’t stand up against…

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The Rising (Department 19 #2) by Will Hill

11797478Sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter’s life was violently upended when he was brought into Department 19, a classified government agency of vampire hunters that was formed to deal with a little problem . . . known as Dracula.

But being the new recruit at the Department isn’t all weapons training and covert missions. Jamie’s own mother has been turned into a vampire–and now Jamie will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on her captors. Even if that means facing down Dracula himself.


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.


Top 10 favourite UKYA by Jim from YAYeahYeah

Jim is an incredibly prolific book blogger, with YA Yeah Yeah, YA Contemporary and the fabulous new YA TV site, Young Adult TV. He shares his Top 10 faves with us. 

My top ten of anything changes pretty much daily. I haven’t even attempted to order these, because that way madness lies. If you asked me tomorrow, some of them would certainly still be on there, some may be nudged out by others which are just off the list at the moment. However, I think the ten below are wonderful books and series that all fans of UKYA should take a look at.

1. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Wein has created one of the most memorable fictional pairings ever in narrators Verity and Maddie. A stunning, heartbreaking, but ultimately life-affirming book.

2. The Things We Did For Love by Natasha Farrant
I read this straight after Code Name Verity and really should have taken a break to stock up on tissues. Londoner Farrant’s portrayal of a French village where the Resistance are bravely fighting the Nazis, and a love story set against this backdrop, is staggering.

3. Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt
How can anyone be this talented with their debut book? Jarratt’s central couple of traveller Ryan and Jenna, who’s scarred from a car crash, are both battling their own issues but find conmfort in each other. The romance between the two is beautiful. As a book, it’s also incredibly unpredictable.

4. A Witch In Winter/A Witch in Love by Ruth Warburton
Winter, the small fishing town to which Anna and her father move at the start of the first of these novels, is a fabulous location and Warburton describes it so wonderfully that you can practically feel the sea breeze when reading. Add in some brilliant characters and great plots and you have a superb series so far.

5. Wereworld series by Curtis Jobling
I read the first of these novels expecting fairly mindless action – making the old mistake of judging a book by a cover – and was blown away by Jobling’s rich worldbuilding and incredible characters. This is a truly epic fantasy sequence which gets better with every new book.

6. When I Was Joe/Almost True by Keren David
David’s taut style, fast paced plot, and believable characterisation make these books completely impossible to put down. She’s created a male narrator who is really easy to like and who has a truly compelling story.

7. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
As I’ve mentioned above, I bawl like a baby quite often when reading books these days. When I first read this, I wasn’t reading much teen fiction and don’t think I’d ever cried at a book before. I broke down 3/4 of the way through this one and, rereading it years later, found it had lost none of its power. An incredible tearjerker.

8. Department 19 series by Will Hill
Hill writes books which are ridiculously long but never seems to waste a word. They’re arguably dangerous to read – there were so many shocking moments in book two, The Rising, that I nearly dropped it several times. (And this is one heavy hardback!) I’ll take the risk of a broken toe, though, and carry on with this series because Hill cuts between narratives wtih huge skill and manages to create absolutely compelling, multi-layered stories which leave you desperate to know what happens next.

9. Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
I like the first three and love the last four. I think Rowling did a phenomenal job of creating characters who lots of people cared about and some wonderful plots.

10. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
As a fantasy sequence, this is possibly unbeatable. Alexander created a wonderful world and characters who developed beautifully in the course of his five novels. A real gem.


Top 10 UKYA favourites by Jesse of Books 4 Teens

Jesse of Books 4 Teens shares his UKYA Top 10.

I knew when I agreed to write this I’d find it tricky but I didn’t think I’d find it this tricky.  It’s surprising just how much US YA there is and some authors who I originally thought were based in the UK, well – weren’t.

So a couple of amendments later, a bit of tinkering here and a bit of tinkering there and I have a list.  Even now though there are more books springing to mind, which are equally as good, but I’m going to stop tinkering now.  This is in no particular order – except the order I thought of them 🙂

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

I read this series when I was still in school and it’s a story that has never, ever left me.

Kiss, Date, Love Hate by Luisa Plaja

A computer game that lets you take control of certain aspects of your friends (and not so friends) life. Enough said I think!  A seriously fun read with such an authentic teenage voice I’m convinced Luisa is a teenager really!

Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind by Andy Robb

A call out to geeks everywhere and a sweet romance told from a male perspective!

A Witch In Winter by Ruth Warburton

Witches, a mystery, good versus evil. Need I say more!

Hollow Pike by James Dawson

I love a good mystery and that’s exactly what you find in Hollow Pike with a little bit of magic sprinkled in for good measure.  I loved the way it switched from the deeply serious to the more light-hearted side without undermining the story.

Rockoholic by CJ Skuse

A shout out to an author (reasonably) local 🙂 I adored Rockaholic – such an original idea – kidnapping a pop star and the ensuing drama is hilarious! Well worth a read.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriot

This was one of my favourite books last year – a modern fantasy fairy tale with tones of Cinderella sprinkled throughout.

The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne

I thoroughly enjoyed this one – such an original story with a truly thrilling aspect to it.

The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish

If scary and creepy is your thing you HAVE to read The Hunting Ground, I’m saying no more.

Department 19 by Will Hill

Oh dear – I’m finishing with a series (well I couldn’t go and forget Department 19 could I?) Yes, it’s vampires but it’s how they were meant to be. Full of blood, nods of the head to Dracula and oh yes and a secret government department to take care of it 🙂