Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors

Writer Susie Day’s UKYA Books of the Year

Kiss Date Love HateKiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja

A Sims-style game allows a teenage girl to redesign her life – and her friends’ – at the flick of a switch. It was never going to work out quite as perfectly as she’d hoped, right? Clever, acutely observed, and so very  funny.

AdorkableAdorkable by Sarra Manning

Jeane is the UK’s answer to Tavi Gevinson, a teen blogger with real-world clout – but behind the online quips and Twitter friends she’s also a real, vulnerable girl. This book kicks bottom. Sexy, witty, and filled with positive feminist stuff for young women readers.

Code Name VerityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Two young women, unlikely friends, both working for the British war effort in World War Two: one captured by the Gestapo and tortured for information; the other a pilot. This book broke me into little pieces and made my heart swell up with joy all at once. Read it.

The LookThe Look by Sophia Bennett

Two sisters: Ted, the lanky outsider, and Ava the beautiful. But it’s funny-looking Ted who the model scout approaches, and funny-looking Ted who has the chance of fame and fortune – while Ava must face a devastating cancer diagnosis. Contemporary UKYA at its best: smart, emotionally resonant, and with real recognisable characters.

The Weight of WaterThe Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Outstanding, uncompromising verse novel about a Kasienka, a Polish girl newly arrived in England with her mother, desperately trying to track down her father. Friendships are hard to come by, but the swimming team might just float her through. The spareness of the verse captures the bleakness of their situation, and Kasienka’s devastating acceptance of it.

And finally…

The Greengage SummerThe Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden

I meant to keep this to only 5 books, and ones published in 2012 – but I read this 1958 novel this year solely because it was listed in the UKYA Top 100 Books, and it sounded like my cup of tea. Narrated by 13-year-old Cecil, it’s the story of a close-knit family trapped by their mother’s illness in a claustrophobic hotel in rural France. The plot is increasingly daft (down to the lustful object of their affection being revealed to be a jewel thief) but despite the period trappings, it’s rammed with familiar adolescent anxiety about rules, romance, and sexuality. If you’ve ever been told that UKYA didn’t exist until the 21st century, look this way (along with plenty of others on that Top 100 List!).

UKYA Book of the Year: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Nominated by author Keris Stainton:

AdorkableI read a lot of brilliant books this year, but I think Adorkable was the only one that made me want to just turn to the beginning and re-read straight away. (I didn’t though, because… so many books!)

Funny, feminist, insightful, moving, ace.

Raimy of Readaraptor’s UKYA Books of the Year

This is my top list of books from 2013. I tried to keep the list short, I failed. There were too many awesome books out this year!

FrostfireFrostfire – Zoe Marriott

This latest offering from Zoe Marriott is quite possibly my favourite of hers so far. I was in awe the entire way through and I loved how Zoe gets across the complexity of the main character without making the whole book hard to read.

The Terrible Thing that Happened to Barnaby Brocket – John Boyne

Any fan of Roald Dahl should be reading this book. It is quite simply awesome! I couldn’t put it down, I laughed and I cried but most of all I loved every bit of it!

Heart Shaped Bruise – Tanya Byrne

I am a sucker for psychological thrillers so I was grabbed by this the minute I started reading. Following the story of an 18 year old girl who was awaiting trail in the mental health ward of a young persons unit this is a must for people who like stories that get into your head.

Emma Hearts LA – Keris Stainton

This book holds a special place in my own heart and it is a fantastic and brilliant example of British Contemporary fiction!

AdorkableAdorkable – Sarra Manning

I can’t put into words my love for this book but I enjoyed it so much I wrote a letter to the book instead of a review of it!

Boys Don’t Cry – Malorie Blackman

Following the story of a guy who gets a baby he didn’t even know existed left on his doorstep this one is well worth a read!

Undone – Cat Clarke

I’ve read two Cat Clarke books this year and let me tell you, it was hard to chose which to put on this list. I decided on Undone purely for the emotions that overcame me whilst reading the book. Its a gut wrenching story which leaves you in shock and makes you want to return to the start and read all over again.

The City’s Son – Tom Pollock

I’m not good with fantasy books, especially high fantasy that looks like its so far beyond what we are used to in everyday life that it will make my head hurt. However The City’s Son goes on this list for making me see that I shouldn’t be scared of this type of book, it was fantastic and once I got used to the world (which didn’t take long!) my head didn’t even start to ache!