Celebrating Young Adult fiction by UK authors

Startled by his Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison

61D7bjw491LOn the rack of romance. And also in the oven of “luuurve,”

And possibly on my way to the “bakery of pain,”

And maybe even going to stop along the way to get a little “cake” at the cakeshop of agony.

“Shut up,” brain, shut up.

Georgia is in quite a predicament. Dave the Laugh has declared his love for her (at least she thinks he was talking about her), leaving her in a state of confusiosity. And then when she finally decides to give Masimo an ultimatum — to be her one and only — he tells her he needs to think about it.

To distract herself from her romantic woes, Georgia throws herself into Mac-Useless play rehearsals and planning a Viking wedding, and tries to avoid all thoughts of boy decoys, Italian-American dreamboats . . . and let’s not forget guitar-plucking Sex Gods!

Chosen as one of The Sunday Times 100 Best Children’s Books

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An all-time favourite, follows a girl, Sym, who is shy and socially withdrawn, mostly as a result of her hearing impairment, partly because of the death of her father but also because her best friend, intrepid explorer Titus Oates lives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.


Keris Stainton’s Top 10 UKYA books

Keris Stainton (i.e. me) picks her fave YA books. In no particular order.

Beads, Boys and Bangles by Sophia Bennett – I really enjoyed all the books in the Threads series, but this one is my favourite. Even if you’re not interested in fashion (and I’m not), you’ll enjoy this book. And if you’re a big fan of cheap fashion, you should definitely read it – it may give you something to think about.

Torn by Cat Clarke – I’m a terrible wuss, so I was a bit scared to read Torn, but I loved it. It’s completely gripping and there’s one bit that still makes me shudder when I think about it.

Big Woo! by Susie Day – Big Woo! is one of the funniest YA books I’ve ever read with a completely fabulous, hilarious voice. I don’t think I need to say anything more than that, do I?

Almost True by Keren David – Again, this is the second book in a series (I loved the first and can’t wait for the third), but it’s my favourite. Gripping, frightening, plus it made me laugh and cry. Wonderful.

Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings – I read this book on a train in broad daylight and it really scared me. If I’d read it at home alone during, say, a thunderstorm, I would have been terrified. Having said that, it’s also really funny – it reminded my of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Slam by Nick Hornby – Hornby’s foray into YA is (perhaps unsurprisingly) well-written, funny and incredibly touching with a take on teen pregnancy I haven’t read anywhere else. I wish he’d write more in the genre.

Nobody’s Girl by Sarra Manning – I love Manning’s books. I’m reading her latest, Adorkable, at the moment and I suspect that if I’d finished it, it would be on this list too. Nobody’s Girl has a wonderful main character, a hot boy and a Paris setting. Perfect.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott – I had no idea what to expect from this book – it’s not the kind of thing I usually read – but I was transported. It’s beautifully written and, again, gripping.

Split By a Kiss by Luisa Plaja – Luisa and I started writing at the same time and were in a writing group together. I read Split By A Kiss in various drafts and knew it was going to be wonderful from the start. I’ve reread it recently and still absolutely love it. Sweet and funny and true.

Angus, Thongs & Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison – It seems a bit redundant including this book because everyone’s surely read it, but I couldn’t leave it out. It’s hilarious, of course, but I’d love it simply for introducing the expression “I hear the call of the horn.”

A Midsummer Tights Dream by Louise Rennison

Tallulah’s triumphant Heathcliff in ‘Wuthering Heights’ the comedy musical was enough to secure her place at Dother Hall performing arts college for another term. She can’t wait to see her pals again, Charlie and the boys from Woolf Academy and maybe even bad boy Cain…

When an international visitor comes to stay could the bright lights of Broadway be calling? And for who? Find out in the next Misadventures of Tallulah Casey.

Visit Louise’s website


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.