UKYA

Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors


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La Jongleuse chooses her Top 10 UKYA novels

The blogger knows as Jongleuse chooses her Top 10 books. 

1) Siobhan Dowd A Swift Pure Cry

Simply one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking books in any genre I’ve ever read.

2) Julie Bertagna Exodus and sequels

Julie Bertagna has deservedly cropped up on many best of YA lists. Her post-global warming trilogy spanning generations and continents, as well as being exquisitely written, is a great adventure story.

3) David Almond, My Name is Mina

Prequel to Skellig, but not like any other prequel you’ve read. Anything and everything by David Almond is worth reading.

4) Meg Rosoff, There is No Dog

How I live Now is Meg’s best-known book, but I loved this quirky tale of a teenage boy playing God, delivered, as usual, in Meg’s precise, beautiful prose.

5) Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men and sequels

What to say about Sir Terry? If you’re a fan of fantasy, humour and metaphysics in equal quantities, the Tiffany Aching series is a brilliant place to start, although most of his output is eminently YA suitable anyway.

6) Anthony McGowan, Henry Tumour

Funny, sad and outrageous.

7) Celia Rees, Witch Child

This one really pushed the boundaries of historical fiction, away from bodice-rippers to something darker and more thought provoking.

8) Kevin Brooks, Naked

Brooks’ writing is taut and clever. Being (only just) old enough to remember punk first time round I loved this book about a teen punk rock star and her involvement with a young man who has a troubled past. Anything by Brooks is worth reading, however.

9) Jan Mark, They do things differently there

Jan Mark is not much read these days (sadly I think this one’s out of print) but she was outrageously talented. This story of two girls who invent an alternative world (Stalemate) in their boring New Town is brilliantly original.

10) Scarlett Thomas, The End of Mr. Y

Not marketed a YA but older teens would adore this weird, heady fantasy with heavy literary pretensions. I love the idea of the Alex awards in the USA where non-YA books are rewarded for being great teen reads.


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Lucas by Kevin Brooks

Caitlin’s life changes from the moment she sees Lucas walking across the causeway one hot summer’s day. He is the strangest, most beautiful boy she has ever seen – and when she meets him, her world comes alive. But to others, he quickly becomes an object of jealousy, prejudice and hatred. Caitlin tries to make sense of the injustice that lurks at every unexpected twist and turn, until she realises that she must do what she knows in her heart is right.

Listen to an audio extract here.


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Best of British: Blogger Nicky Schmidt

South African writer Nicky Schmidt blogs at  Absolute Vanilla  a great place to read YA interviews, reviews and Nicky’s thoughts. She’s picked her Best of British for UKYA.

YA author

Kevin Brooks

Book (teen)

Lucas by Kevin Brooks; Also Wasted by Nicola Morgan; Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip; How I live Now and There is No Dog by Meg Rosoff

Book (kids)

The Crestomanci Series by Diana Wynne Jones, The Narnia Stories, The Secret Garden, The Little White Horse – and too many more to mention.

Shop

Hamleys (HUGE London toy shop)

TV programme

At the moment, Downton Abbey

Film

Too many to list!

Designer

Vivienne Westwood, simply because she is so iconic!


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Sophie from So Many Books, So Little Time: Top 10 UKYA reads

The top ten UKYA faves chosen by Sophie of So Many Books, So Little Time

Choosing just ten UKYA books as my top ten is a near impossible task, but I shall try. I can’t possibly put them in any order though… Here they are:

Nobody’s Girl, Sarra Manning

Sarra Manning is one of the UK’s best writers of contemporary YA. Her protagonists are realistic, flawed and endlessly relatable and her toxic boys work their magic on your heart. Nobody’s Girl features Bea, shy, awkward and completely ordinary on her adventures in Paris with American boy Toph. One of my favourites of hers.

Junk, Melvin Burgess

Junk is one of the greatest YA novels. Period. It pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable to write about and did it in stunningly sparse and haunting prose. A must-read for everyone who caims to love YA.

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff

Meg Rosoff’s debut blew my mind. I first read this when I was 12 and seven years later, I still count it as one of my favourites. Its narrative style is new and awkward and the subject of war and cousinly love puts a few people off. But for those who take the risk, it’ll definitely be rewarded.

Lucas, Kevin Brooks

Lucas is one of those books that will unexpectedly make you bawl your eyes out. It’s beautiful and utterly heartbreaking. Like Burgess, Kevin Brooks pushes the limits of gritty, contemporary realism and gives a stark glimpse into lives we couldn’t imagine.

The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, Louise Rennison

I can remember buying each of the first four books on a Saturday with my pocket money, and then I pre-ordered each and every one after that. Hilariously funny and completely ridiculous – do not read these in public…

Stolen, Lucy Christopher

Written as a letter to her captor, Gemma’s second person narration captures our imagination. The imager is second-to-none and the story is effortlessly engaging. This novel made Lucy Christopher an auto-buy author for me.

Forbidden, Tabitha Suzuma

One of the most shocking and controversial novels I’ve ever read, Forbidden is breath-taking. After causing a war between my brain and my emotions over what was right and what was wrong, it tore my heart out and jumped on it for good measure. Some may be put off b the subject matter, but if you are, you’re seriously missing out. MISSING OUT.

David, Mary Hoffman

I’m picky about historical fiction, I really am, but I devoured this. It tells the imagined story behind one of the greatest works of art; Michelangelo’s statue, David. The mixture of history, art, politics and romance was enough to carry me away to renaissance Florence and never want to come back.

Skin Deep, Laura Jarratt

This is the book that I’ve read most recently from this list and it took me by complete surprise. Jenna’s struggle to feel beautiful after facial scarring and Ran’s struggle with the prejudice around him being a traveller were beautifully handled alongside a swoon-worthy romance. One of my favourite reads this year.

Blood Red Road, Moira Young

Young’s debut is one of the freshest and most original novels to come out of the dystopia craze. Between a phonetic dialect and the kick-ass Saba and her quest to find her brother, you can’t really ask for more. I can’t wait for the next book, Rebel Heart.


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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.