When the lovely people here invited me to write a guest post about my favourite YA books, I had two thoughts in quick succession:
‘Yippee! My favourite subject...I can’t wait to get started!’ and then, ‘Hang on, how can I possibly choose? Maybe they’ll let me write 10,000 words...?’
It’s fair to say that I absolutely love children’s and YA fiction. I love reading it, I love talking about it and I love writing it. My own first book for readers aged 10+, Dark Ride, was recently published by Piccadilly Press and I have another book for older readers coming out in 2012. I hoover up as many books as I can in these genre and the great thing is, I can pretend it’s all for research now [shhh].
So rather than boring you all to death with that 10,000 word post, I have decided to limit my ramblings to a handful of books that I’ve read and loved in recent times.
In no particular order...
The Opposite of Amber by Gillian Phillip
I’d never read anything by Gillian Phillip before but the quality of the writing and the gripping story here simply blew me away. Ruby and Jinn are teenage sisters who live in a beautifully described Scottish seaside town [I can’t resist past-their-heyday coastal resorts. A similar town features in Dark Ride]. They’re getting on just fine, more or less, until good-looking bad boy Nathan Baird turns up and turns Jinn’s world upside down. The result is a heartbreaking series of events with some very adult themes. A truly brilliant book.
The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick
I’m a huge fan of Sedgwick’s rich, dark tales. The Foreshadowing originally came out in 2005 but having his more recent novels, I recently started on his back catalogue. The era is World War One and seventeen-year-old Sasha Fox has a comfortable, albeit stifling life. When her adored older brothers are called up to fight, she realises she has a terrible gift; she can see the future, namely what will happen to her loved ones in the muddy fields of Flanders. She sets out to discover whether it’s ever possible to change the future.
One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson
This is a rare book that will truly appeal to all age groups. Hal is a lonely boy whose rich parents shower him in toys but very little of their time. All Hal wants in the world is a dog. His mum and dad hatch a horribly insensitive plan to hire one just for the weekend, but fail to tell Hal the pet isn’t for keeps. But Hal isn’t going to be put off that easily...
Sadly, Eva Ibbotson died recently and won’t get to see this book become the classic it’s destined to be.
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
As soon as I’d finished Uglies I gobbled up the sequel Pretties and then the one after that, Specials. I was utterly transported into the shiny-but-sinister future world Westerfeld has created. The premise of the book is that ‘Uglies’, ie normal warts-and-all people, can be transformed into ‘Pretties’ when they turn 16. Tally Youngblood [my favourite name after Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games] can’t wait to turn pretty but a series of events leads her to understand that the good looks come at a heavy price...
Okay so I’ve managed to stick to four [or, six including sequels]. Phew. But it wasn’t easy.
I listened to a podcast books discussion recently where someone said the best and most exciting books around were all YA these days. Although I do read and enjoy adult fiction too, it’s hard not to agree when there are so many fantastic stories out there aimed at young people.