Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors

Writer Lucy Marcovitch’s Top 10 UKYA books

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA1. Skellig by David Almond – I read this when it was first published and I’ve never read anything so unique, haunting and beautiful since. Although he came very close with My Name is Mina!

2. Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty – a completely un-judgemental, un-preachy, honest and sensitive book about teenage pregnancy. I wish I could write a book half as real as this one. I think it should be on the sex education curriculum!

3. The Writing on the Wall by Lynne Reid Banks – I read this book in the 80s as a teenager, and it was the one which inspired me to want to write for young adults. It’s the perfect model of everything you’re told in creative writing classes about how to craft a story for YA.

4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd – probably the most powerful evocation of grief in any book for children or adults that I’ve read. It’s a true modern classic, and the uniqueness of its authorship makes it more powerful. It also wouldn’t be half as powerful without the illustrations, which sets it apart in another way, as an illustrated YA book.

5. Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls – if only I could write a first novel as beautiful as this one! I wept buckets at the end. I think it’s a shame it was eclipsed by other books with a similar theme that were published at the same time, as I think it is much more superior than any of them, being so under-stated.

6. My Name is Mina by David Almond – I love how David Almond’s characters take on lives of their own, even when they aren’t the main characters. This ia another beautiful book – for a while it was touch and go whether it surpassed Skellig for me!

7. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling – when I was a teacher I kept reading articles by libraries about this brilliant book about a boy wizard. I read it in one weekend, then tried it out on my class. I have never seen 35 10 and 11 year-olds sit so still and beg me to read more after 3.30. It’s hard to remember that in 1996 there wasn’t another book quite like it.

8. The Witch’s Daughter – Nina Bawden is best known for Carrie’s War, but I I always preferred this mystery story. None of the characters are stereotypes – even the baddies have a human face. And the name Perdita always fascinated me, especially as I couldn’t work out how to pronounce it!

9. Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer – classic time slip book that inspired my favourite teenage band The Cure. What could be more exciting for a young adult?!

10. The Edge of the Cloud by KM Peyton – I’d choose all the Flambards books, but at a push this one is my favourite. It’s a beautiful combination of love story and historical novel, romantic and exciting – Christina and Will are living the life all older teenagers would dream of. And of course it makes the opening tragedy of the third novel even more unbearably tragic!

Check out Lucy’s blog or follow her on Twitter @lucym808

Author Sue Ransom’s Top 10 UKYA books

Sue Ransom, author of Small Blue Thing, Perfectly Reflected and Scattering Like Light, chooses her Top 10 UKYA novels.

This list has caused me quite a lot of anguish. Not because I couldn’t decide, but because so many of the books I’ve been reading lately have actually been American. So this list goes back to include some of my favourites from my teenage years (just after the dinosaurs as far as my kids are concerned), as well as some of the books which have more recently hit the shops.

The Crysalids, John Wyndham

My all-time favourite – a dystopian horror well before dystopia had a name. I defy you to read this and not spend the next few night straining to hear someone else thinking.

His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman

Brilliantly imagined worlds, with such vivid descriptions that I knew exactly what each would look like, and so, so sad in places too.

Flambards, KM Peyton

When I was a teenager I used to check this out of the school library regularly. Handsome stable boys, country manor houses and a rich, dysfunctional guardian – what’s not to love?

Harry Potter, JK Rowling

I read the first two of these out loud to my son, as he wasn’t up to the level of reading needed at the time, and that got me hooked. As a family we’ve loved these books, and ended up buying multiple copies of The Deathly Hallows as no-one wanted to wait to read it. Magnificent plotting.

When I was Joe, Keren David

This was one of the first YA books I read after I realised that my books were going to be categorised as YA too. Sometimes tough to read, I never knew where the cunning plot twists were going to go next. I’m really looking forward to the third book.

Torn, Cat Clarke

I loved Cat’s first book, Entangled, but this one is even better. Who can’t relate to being sneered at by the Queen of Mean at school? I loved how the plot unfurled, and winced in horror repeatedly.

Watership Down, Richard Adams

My copy of this is so battered I had to buy a new one for my kids. A book which can be enjoyed on many levels, and the end of which can still make me cry.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

A classic, and one which I appreciated more each time I read another Sci Fi tome. I really, really want a Babelfish of my own.

Florence and Giles, John Harding

A fabulously creepy gothic thriller, told from a teenager’s point of view and with a strange but compelling use of language. Possibly not quite YA, but well worth reading.

Noughts and Crosses, Malorie Blackman

A truly powerful, gripping book, and another one which made me cry. This is the level of story telling I aspire to reach when I write, and I have a long, long way to go!

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Ten YA novels Adele Geras loves

Adele Geras has written more than ninety books for children and young adults.

Here are a few of her favourite UKYA books.

BILGEWATER by Jane Gardam
SET IN STONE by Linda Newbery
NO SHAME NO FEAR by Ann Turnbull
GOLDENGROVE by Jill Paton Walsh
THE SCARECROWS by Robert Westall
WITCH CHILD by Celia Rees
WHITE DARKNESS by Geraldine McCaughrean