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!).


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)…


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

The Top 100 Best Ever UKYA – as voted by you

Get those library cards and wishlists ready. Here it is, voted by you, the readers, in 2012: the Top 100 Best Ever UKYA books!

Click here to see the UKYA Top 10.

  • 15 Days Without A Head – Dave Cousins
  • A Little Love Song – Michelle Magorian
  • Across the Nightingale Floor – Lian Hearn
  • Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress – Sarwat Chadda
  • Bartimaeus series – Jonathon Stroud
  • Big Woo! – Susie Day
  • Blood Red Road – Moira Young
  • Broken Soup – Jenny Valentine
  • Chaos Walking trilogy – Patrick Ness
  • Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein
  • David – Mary Hoffman
  • Della Says: OMG! – Keris Stainton
  • Diary of a Chav – Grace Dent
  • Dirty Work – Julia Bell
  • Everybody Jam – Ali Lewis
  • Flip – Martyn Bedford
  • Geekhood – Andy Robb
  • Girl, Missing – Sophie McKenzie
  • Grow Up – Ben Brooks
  • Heart-Shaped Bruise – Tanya Byrne
  • Hexwood – Diana Wynne Jones
  • Hollow Pike – James Dawson
  • I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
  • Junk – Melvin Burgess
  • Life, an Exploded Diagram – Mal Peet
  • A Face Like Glass – Frances Hardinge
  • A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd
  • Adrian Mole, Aged 13 and 3/4 – Sue Townsend
  • Being Billy – Phil Earle
  • Bilgewater – Jane Gardam
  • Bog Child – Siobhan Dowd
  • C.H.E.R.U.B. series – Robert Muchamore
  • Chocolate S.O.S. – Sue Limb
  • Coram Boy – Jamila Gavin
  • Dear Nobody – Berlie Doherty
  • Department 19 – Will Hill
  • Diary of a Crush – Sarra Manning
  • Drawing with Light – Julia Green
  • Finding Sky – Joss Stirling
  • Firebrand – Gillian Philip
  • Flour Babies – Anne Fine
  • Georgia Nicholson series – Louise Rennison
  • Girls Under Pressure – Jacqueline Wilson
  • Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  • – Andy Briggs
  • His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  • How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
  • Incarceron – Catherine Fisher
  • Kiss Date Love Hate – Luisa Plaja
  • Long Lankin – Lindsey Barraclough
  • Lottie Biggs series – Hayley Long
  • Million Dollar Mates – Cathy Hopkins
  • My Sword Hand Is Singing – Marcus Sedgwick
  • Night School – CJ Daugherty
  • Numbers – Rachel Ward
  • Rain – Kate Le Vann
  • Rowan the Strange – Julie Hearn
  • Roxy’s Baby – Catherine MacPhail
  • Skellig – David Almond
  • Slam – Nick Hornby
  • Stolen – Lucy Christopher
  • The Angel Collector – Bali Rai
  • The Declaration – Gemma Malley
  • The Enemy – Charlie Higson
  • The Girl in the Mask – Marie-Louise Jensen
  • The Greengage Summer – Rumer Godden
  • The Owl Service – Alan Garner
  • The Twelfth Day of July – Joan Lingard
  • The Wind Singer series – William Nicolson
  • This Is Not Forgiveness – Celia Rees
  • Tiffany Aching series – Terry Pratchett
  • Troy – Adele Geras
  • Velvet – Mary Hooper
  • Waves – Sharon Dogar
  • When I Was Joe series – Keren David
  • Lila series – Sarah Alderson
  • Looking for JJ – Anne Cassidy
  • Lucas – Kevin Brooks
  • Mortal Engines series – Philip Reeve
  • Nearly Departed – Rook Hastings
  • Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman
  • Pennington’s Seventeenth Summer – KM Peyton
  • Rockoholic – CJ Skuse
  • Shadows on the Moon – Zoe Marriott
  • Skin Deep – Laura Jarratt
  • Slated – Teri Terry
  • Sugar Rush – Julie Burchill
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
  • The Double Shadow – Sally Gardner
  • The Glimpse – Claire Merle
  • The House in Norham Gardens – Penelope Lively
  • The Shell House – Linda Newbery
  • The Watchers at the Shrine – Jean Ure
  • They Do Things Differently There – Jan Mark
  • Threads series – Sophia Bennett
  • Torn – Cat Clarke
  • Unrest – Michelle Harrison
  • VIII – HM Castor
  • Wheels of War – Sally Prue
  • You Against Me – Jenny Downham

Thank you so much for all your votes, RTs, blog posts and support.


UKYA meet-up in pictures (mostly)

The first (of, I hope, many) UKYA meet-up took place last Monday evening. It was a fabulous night and we were thrilled that so many authors and bloggers turned up and were so enthusiastic and supportive and chatty!

I had planned to take lots of lovely photos, but got distracted (mainly by the jugs of Pimm’s) and ended up taking not very many slightly blurred and grainy pics, but I think they’ll give you a general idea of what went on…