UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


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Author Kate Kelly’s UKYA Top 10

KateIt was hard to choose a top ten – there are so many great UKYA books that I would have loved to include – but here, in no particular order, are my favourites.

1. Arabesque – Colin Mulhern
Gangsters and criminals – and one girl caught in the middle – this is the sort of down to earth gritty crime that I love.

2. Firebrand – Gillian Philip
A wonderful fantasy – a book that draws you in and doesn’t let you go.

3. The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extense
This is a really brilliant book, moving and profound. You’ll think about things differently after reading this!

4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
No list would be complete without including these. What more can I say.

5. The Dreamwalker’s Child – Steve Voake
An all time favourite of mine – powerful fantasy with a wonderfully imagined world.

6. Looking for JJ – Anne Cassidy
Cleverly structured – moving between past and present- a past life that is being kept hidden. Gripping stuff!

7. Blood Ties – Sophie McKenzie
A superb fast paced thriller with a real ethical issue at its core

8. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
Dystopia at its best – thought provoking. A classic for its time.

9. His Dark Materials series – Philip Pullman
There is so much depth to these books – wonderful characters, fantastic settings and quite simply a brilliant story and concept.

10. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time – Mark Haddon
Sheer brilliance. This is a book that fully deserved all the accolades it has received.

Kate Kelly is a marine scientist by day but by night she writes SF thrillers for kids. Her love of the sea inspires many of the themes in her writing. Kate’s debut novel Red Rock is published by Curious Fox in September 2013.


Killing Rachel by Anne Cassidy

killing rachelRose’s mother and Joshua’s father have disappeared. Police inquiries have gone nowhere and the case, it seems, is closed: Rose and Joshua have been told that the police believe their parents are dead.

But Rose and Joshua still hold out hope that they are alive. Joshua is determined to follow up his own inquiries, which includes working out the meaning of the cryptic notebooks – the murder notebooks – they have discovered.

Then Rose is distracted by odd, desperate messages she receives from Rachel, a former best friend from her school, followed by the terrible news that Rachel is dead. But perhaps Rachel’s death will provide one more piece of the puzzle about what has happened to Rose and Joshua’s parents . . .


Savita Kalhan’s Top 10 UKYA books

UKYA author Savita Kalhan chooses her Top 10 books.

Choosing my favourites for any top ten list is hard, choosing favourites from the wonderful talent in UK YA is almost impossible! It’s not made any easier by the fact that as fast as I read, I barely seem to make a dent in my TBR pile. Also, I know I will have missed some books that I’ve absolutely loved reading and that some books in my TBR pile would have made it to this list if I’d had more time to read.

Anyhow, enough excuses, this is my current top ten list, in no particular order, and yes I’ve managed to throw in a few trilogies and counted them as one!

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy – Although I read this book some time ago, the story has stayed with me. It is an unflinchingly told and compelling story of a child who has killed, now grown up and rejoining society.

Rebel Angels series by Gillian Philip. Firebrand and Bloodstone
I love fantasy and this is one of the best series in recent years. It’s darkly beautiful. I’m champing at the bit for the third book.

Life: An Exploded Diagram by Mal Peet
Set against the backdrop of the Cold War, this book was so rich in detail you could have been inside the story. It’s both funny and moving as it explores first love, class and the politics that almost got the world blown up. It’s a great read.

Stolen, A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher
It begins with a young girl, Gemma, who is abducted at an airport by a young man named Ty, and from the very beginning the book has an original voice that draws you in. The descriptions are so vivid they jump off the page, and the main characters are utterly believable.

A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
I love Dowd’s writing, it’s poetic and powerful stuff, and this book in particular resonated with me. The rural Ireland that it’s set in is only 1984, but you might think it was far earlier than that. Shell, the main character is bound by her upbringing, by the traditions, religious faith and society that surround her.

The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers
Pregnant women are dying of an incurable disease and the future of humankind is at stake, so yes, the book is dystopian, but it’s not an unrecognisable future. It’s one that’s disturbingly close. And the Sleeping Beauties? A very scary idea.

Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman
Sheer brilliance from a great writer.

The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
One of my favourite fantasy trilogies. Bartimaeus, the genii, is an inspired character, wry, sardonic and world-weary, he’s endlessly fascinating.

Chaos Walking Series by Patrick Ness
As soon as I started reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, I was hooked. I loved the invention of The Noise, and glad I was a woman so I didn’t have to hear it! A great series.

Rowan the Strange by Julie Hearn
It’s 1939 and 13 year old Ro, after one episode too many, is sent to a lunatic asylum to undergo a new treatment: electric shock therapy. Every single character in this book is brilliantly drawn, and Ro and his dorm mate Dorothea, are inspired. The book is extremely heart-breaking.


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Raimy of Readaraptor’s Top 10 UKYA novels

Raimy of Readaraptor shares her Top 10 UKYA reads.

When Keris asked me to write this post I thought “Of course I’ll do that, that won’t be hard at all.” Oh how wrong was I?! I am now sat here at the computer thinking, “how can I narrow this down to ten?!” and they say that UKYA isn’t as big as USYA! HA!

1. First up I have to put the queen of UKYA from when I was a little sprog myself – Louise Rennison and her Georgia Nicholson series.

This is the series I was hooked on when I was younger. I read the first one over and over until I got the second and then read them both over and over, until I got the third (You can see where this is going right, you don’t need me to carry on?)

I think this is a pretty much timeless series, it would apply to kids of that age now just as much as it did back then.

2. I’m sorry for including the book that EVERYONE picks but the Harry Potter series are the books that got me into reading. All I had read before Harry Potter was the Animal Ark series, Jacqueline Wilson’s entire catalogue (up to that point) and good ol’ Georgia Nicholson.

Harry Potter made me realise there were different genres and not everything was the same as my boring old life! It changed my perspective on the world and brought me closer to my sister.

3. Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses series came to me when I was around 15. This is UKYA at its most amazing, I believe. It was my favourite dystopian read before I knew what dystopia was.

4. Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy has to be one of the most amazing thrillers I have ever read and it has stuck with me for years now. I even squandered valuable food (and booze) money to go see a stage version of this book in my first year of Uni. Unfortunately I have yet to go back and find more Anne Cassidy books but I think that’s because I thought this one was SO good I’m scared the others won’t live up to it!

5. The Opposite of Chocolate by Julie Bertagna is another one from my 15-year-old days (I read some amazing UKYA books in my teens!) that I could not put down. This book is so atmospheric that you can’t help but feel like you are inside Sapphire’s world. I think I even wrote fan fiction for this book a long, long time ago!

6. Where do I go now!? I think I’ll have to go for yet another book I read back in the day… This author is amazing and is still very prominent in todays UKYA circles with her new book Adorkable due for release this year. Pretty Things by Sarra Manning was an amazing read for me because at around the time I was busy trying to work myself out. I think this was the first book I read with an LGBT character in it and I loved that there were people as confused as I was out there!

7. Sticking with LGBT this next book is on this list partly for an AMAZING book but also because of the way LGBT is handled in it. Hollow Pike by James Dawson came out this year and ever since I read it, it has been stuck in my head. I adored the book in itself and then when the LGBT element came around I was so enamoured by it that this book went to my favourite book of the year. This was James’ debut novel which is shocking because I don’t know how he’s going to top it!

8. Doing It by Melvin Burgess has to have been the most brilliantly funny yet epically “WTF?!” book I read when I was a teen. I loved this book more than anything at the time and it’s so raw and real that I don’t think any teen could read it and not love it. Its written from a male POV (a rare thing for the books that I read at the time and still now, sadly) and it’s all about sex so it captured my interest straight away (sorry, but I was 15 – what do you expect?)

9. Its time for a bit of fantasy. Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott is a beautiful oriental story that’s based loosely on Cinderella. Zoe is an incredible young writer from the UK and all her books are just as beautiful as each other, but this one has to be my favourite. I never thought I’d enjoy this type of fantasy but as soon as I started reading I could not put it down. I have raved about this to everyone and am eagerly awaiting Zoe’s next book.

10. Naked by Kevin Brooks gets the last spot on this list. Naked is a unique story about London in the 70s during the rise of the Punk movement. It was amazing and I have other books of his just sat on my shelf that I can’t wait to read because I loved this one so much.


Guilt Trip by Anne Cassidy

Ali’s life is falling apart. She’s drifting away from her boyfriend and her best mate. She’s got a crush on someone else’s boyfriend – but more than that, she’s bored. So when she and her friends save Daniel from a suicide attempt, she welcomes the diversion of befriending him.

Until a row one night leads to his accidental death. Now Ali and her group have a decision to make: stay quiet or face the consequences.

And one of them has decided that it’s time to speak up. . .

Visit Anne’s website