Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


Cruel Summer by James Dawson

417zg-BNx9L._SY445_A year after the suicide of one of their friends, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean.

They’re hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives – claiming to have evidence that the suicide was actually murder.

When she is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of them – but who is it? And will they strike again?



Author James Dawson’s Top 10 UKYA books

734384_565099966852946_1583512493_n-230x300Despite legitimately inventing the English language, YA is not dominated by English, or indeed, UK authors. The big boys all hail from the US. While John Green and Cassandra Clare are indeed mega, we mustn’t forget that it is our DUTY as UK readers to spread the gospel of UKYA around the world. Why? Because we are producing some of the best, most innovative, fiction out there. Here are just ten of our flagship offerings.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman – I’m running out of nice things to say about this series. A true dystopia with heart-breaking romance, high-octane terrorism and well-realised characters. This book should be taught in schools.

The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness – Oh PIPE DOWN, I KNOW Patrick was born in America, but he’s been in the UK FOREVER and wrote the bloody things here. Premium YA science fiction that tests the morality of the reader at every turn. A future classic.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon – Sorry, another predictable choice. If you haven’t read this masterpiece then do so now. If books were hung in the Tate Modern, this one would surely have pride of place next to some sparkly Hirst tat.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman – Surprise! No one ever mentions this! Oh, wait. Look, I know you’re bored, but this trilogy is MIND BLOWING and kind of invented the new wave of teen fiction. I’m not going to not mention it just because everyone agrees it’s among the finest books ever written.

Heart Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne – If you like your YA a little gritty and stabby, you need to read Byrne’s debut for tour-de-force main character Emily Koll. I’d happily read ‘Recipes by Emily’, ‘Economics by Emily’ or ‘100% Justin Bieber by Emily Koll’ just to hear more of her killer put-downs.

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O Porter – When you hear ‘respected TV presenter is turning their hand to YA fiction’, you don’t automatically think ‘brutally honest coming of age story not unlike a Judy Blume for 2013’, but that is exactly what O Porter has accomplished in her debut. Amazing.

Entangled by Cat Clarke – I go back and forth on which of Clarke’s three novels I love the most. This week it’s Entangled because of the fragile and compelling main character Grace. Entangled also straddles the contemp/supernatural border with finesse.

The City’s Son by Tom Pollock – A delicious imagination sandwich in which the bread is imagination and the filling is IMAGINATION SPREAD. Pollock has transformed London into a living urban beast with organic, believable teen characters and vivid, scary monsters.

What’s Up With Jody Barton? by Hayley Long – In the children’s book industry, publishers seem to like ‘commercial books’ or ‘award books’. Well Long can do both. ‘Jody’ goes to show you don’t need Nazis or cancer to be a powerful and moving novel.

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner – A unique, unusual novel, quite unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Gardner is among the UK’s finest writers and she has never moved me more than with Maggot Moon. The final is beautiful and unexpected.

HOLLOW PIKE is out now! Insert UTTERLY SHAMELESS plug for CRUEL SUMMER here! And another for BEING A BOY!

Visit James’s website or follow him on Twitter

1 Comment

Blogger Kate Ormand’s UKYA Top 10

Blogger Kate Ormand chooses her Top 10 favourite UKYA books. (I didn’t pay her, honest.)

photo-1Slated by Teri Terry – a brilliantly sinister, gripping mystery packed with danger and suspense.

Emma Hearts LA by Keris Stainton – a feel-good romance that had me smiling throughout.

Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton – a fabulously sweet, romantic story.

Della Says: OMG by Keris Stainton – a fun, humorous read with lots of drama!

The Glimpse by Claire Merle – a thrilling mystery packed with terrifying twists.

Dark Parties by Sara Grant – an unpredictable dystopian that had me guessing and gasping throughout!

Hollow Pike by James Dawson – great humour and a good scare!

The Disappeared by C.J. Harper – a fantastic new dystopian about an innocent boy adapting to a brutal new life.

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards – a wonderfully rich and unique story set in a very well-realised world.

Dead Romantic by C.J. Skuse – I cheated a little with this because I’m still reading it, but I just had to include it! It’s so funny and such a brilliant premise!

This list could be endless, really. I have a lot of UKYA books on my shelves still unread and lots of upcoming UKYA titles to look forward to! Thank you for having me, Keris!


Serendipity Viv’s UKYA Books of the Year

When Keris asked me to pick my favourite UKYA books for 2012, I thought it would be a complete doddle…until I realised how many blooming excellent books I had read in this category. So I’ve written and rewritten my list, lost sleep over it, scribbled out names only to replace them five minutes later and finally I think I can name my top ten. In fact, I might even do a Ross Geller from Friends and laminate it, just so I can flash it around at author events. If you’re on my list, I can talk to you, right?

Anyway my list is in no particular order but I do have one book shining like a star at the top of the list.

images-2My number one UKYA book of the year is Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne. Seriously I loved this book so much. Full of emotion that grated my feelings to the bone. Judging by the awards that this book has been nominated for I guess I ‘m not the only one feeling this way about this book.

Now here is the rest of my list which is in no particular order.

15 Days Without A Head by Dave Cousins is an amazing gritty debut, which makes you laugh in some places and cry in others.

WhatsUpWithJodyBartonWhat’s Up with Jody Barton? by Hayley Long should get an award for the biggest best kept secret ever. Half way through the book I was completely blown away.

Saving Daisy by Phil Earle – another book to rip me to shreds.  Phil writes from the heart and you can tell as you weep buckets, always desperate for a brighter outcome for his main characters.

Arabesque by Colin Mulhern– If Martina Cole wrote YA then this would be the type of book she would write. Compelling and shocking at times to read but one hell of a thriller.

Skin Deep by Laura Jarrett – a beautiful love story where a young couple defy everyone that goes against their relationship. Just simply gorgeous.

unknown-1Unrest by Michelle Harrison – this lovely lady seems to be able to turn her hand to any subject matter. She has swiftly moved from fairies to ghosts and scared the beejeesus out of me in the process.

FrostFire by Zoe Marriott – I just adore the way Zoe writes. Her imagination amazes me; her creative mind just wows me.

Emma Hearts LA  by Keris Stainton – I loved being swept away to California! Keris has a way of writing that makes me feel like I really am the main character.

12367267The Glimpse by Claire Merle – I had to check this one was valid because Clare no longer lives in the UK, but thank fully it does. Raise your glasses to a UK based dystopian novel. We can do it too my lovely American friends!

I was just about to write three more that need to go on my list when I realised I’d run out of room on my laminated card. So I’m going to stick a bright pink post it note on the side mentioning that Hollow Pike by James Dawson, Torn by Cat Clarke and Night School by C.J Daugherty also rocked my socks off, but mean Keris Stainton told me I could only choose ten!* Harrumph!

* I actually asked her to pick just one – Mean Keris Stainton 🙂