Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors

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 🙂


Competition: Lancashire Book of the Year books


Hello! Sorry we’ve been a bit quiet lately, but we’re hoping to make up with it with a competition!

I (Keris) went to the author panel for the Lancashire Book of the Year last month. It was wonderful and the four authors who appeared – Zoe Marriott, Mike Lancaster, Cliff McNish and Chris Higgins – were highly entertaining and inspiring.

So I snapped up a copy of each of their shortlisted books and asked them to sign them for one lucky UKYA reader.

To be in with a chance of winning all four books, please leave a ‘pick me’ comment (you don’t have to say ‘pick me’, just make it clear you’re interested) with your name and email address. Closing date: 31 July 2012 at midnight GMT and I’m afraid it’s UK only, cos these books are heavy.


The Doomspell Trilogy by Cliff McNish

Rachel and Eric are hurtled to a terrifying place. Like thousands of other children before them they have been snatched away by the Witch. But she has met her match.

Rachel and Eric discover they have astonishing powers. She is a spellmaker who can fly, change shape and scent magic across other lands and oceans. Eric is a destroyer of spells. Together they embark on a journey from which there may be no return.

The Witch will stop at nothing to enslave them and destroy her old adversaries the Wizards. The fate of all children lies in the balance – will Rachel and Eric save them, or will the Witch finally triumph?

Visit Cliff’s website

Caitlin of The Cait Files picks her Top 10 UKYA books

Caitlin Lomas, who blogs at The Cait Files, chooses her Top 10 favourite UKYA books.

The White Darkness by Geradline McCaughrean

An all-time favourite, follows a girl, Sym, who is shy and socially withdrawn, mostly as a result of her hearing impairment, partly because of the death of her father but also because her best friend, intrepid explorer Titus Oates lives in her head. With a trip to Antarctica, an abundance of conspiracy theories and a creepy ‘uncle’ you’ll never know quite what to think or who to trust.

Junk by Melvin Burgess

A very real book based around heroin addicts who form a highly dysfunctional but often sweet family. Controversial, but eye-opening and oddly captivating.

Denial by David Belbin

Initially picked up because the MC was called Caitlin (best name ever) who is a teenage girl trying to recreate herself, which seems to be working, until her teacher father is accused of molesting one of his students and Caitlin’s life gets turned upside down.

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

One of the first dystopians I ever read and one of the best. In a world where adults live forever, children, Surpluses, are considered lower-class citizens and taught to be ‘useful’ to make up for their own existence.

Echorium Sequence by Katherine Roberts

A fantasy series surrounding the Singers and a battle over the ultimate evil. First book, Song Quest, was recently rereleased by Catnip Books

The Doomspell Trilogy by Cliff McNish

Possibly a little younger than YA, but I have always adored it. Fantasy series surrounding a witch who snatches children away to an alternate dimension meets her match when she steals 2 kids with extraordinary powers. Lots of battles, witches, wizards, other creatures, splendid.

The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison

Everyone’s read them, but they deserve a mention. Hilarious diaries of a teen girl getting to grips with life. My sister used to shout at me for reading these late at night and keeping her awake  by laughing.

A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton

Paranormal romance with a British twist!  Witchcraft, love and magical mysteries all in a small coastal town in Southern England. And the sequel is just as good.

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Strange, a little disturbing but very beautiful; the tragic story of spoilt, cynical Daisy and her cousins whose idyllic summer takes a nasty turn when a war breaks out. There’s a reason it’s a staple on these lists. Everyone should read it.

Hollow Pike by James Dawson

Creepy murders in a creepy town surrounded by a creepy wood. And if that’s not enough to entice you, James’ teenagers are outstandingly realistic and he writes about LGBT teens and issues better than any other author I’ve encountered so far.

And I’d like to end with an honorary mention for one of my favourite authors and favourite series, Sarah Rees Brennan and The Demon’s Lexicon trilogy. Keris said I could not include her because she is IRISH but her books are so fantastic they had to get a mention. Urban Fantasy set in England which follows the Ryves brothers and their adventures with demons, magicians and annoying girls with pink hair who demand you save their brother. One of the funniest and most plot-twisty series I’ve ever read.


The Hunting Ground by Cliff McNish

When Elliott and his brother, Ben, move into old and crumbling Glebe House they don’t expect to find themselves sharing it with ghosts.

But soon sinister events are unfolding. An old diary reveals glimpses of the mansion’s past — and of a terrible tragedy. A mysterious woman talks to the dead. And evil lurks in the East Wing — a hideous labyrinth of passageways devised by a truly twisted mind.

Can Elliott and his family escape the clutches of Glebe House? Or will they be trapped in the maze of corridors, forever hunted by the dead?

Visit Cliff’s website