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.
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.