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SQ Favourites: YA

Posted on February 20th, 2013

YA (Young Adult) fiction is still, rather wonderfully, booming. It’s true that much of it comes from the US, but the UK scene is increasingly vibrant, and Australia is pretty punchy too. There are some amazing bloggers and reviewers who keep it all rolling (the good ones are on twitter if you want to find and follow them). And then there are the writers… Here are a few available gems, debut or otherwise, that I love love love.*

  1. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver – A masterclass on characterisation. Seriously. If you want to write characters for YA, this is where to start.
  2. Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne – “Gritty psychological thriller” so said the Guardian, and that is true. It’s just basically really classy writing. And it sucks you in.
  3. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler – OK, hand on heart I have a vested interest here because I worked on it. And I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to like it. But this book, this book – it goes beyond any preconceptions of Snicket. Daniel Handler OWNS Min’s female narrative, makes it his, makes it funny, makes it real, makes it beyond heartbreaking. And Maira’s illustrations are heaven. It’s just genius.
  4. Penelope by Rebecca Harrington – The one that got away. Though not strictly speaking YA, this is a campus novel, hilarious, sardonic, and so winning.
  5. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda  – I literally could not put it down. Sort of vampires and apocalypse and gladatorial survival, all in one, combined with utter unrelenting pace. All the best bits of current YA trends given a new treatment.
  6. Starters by Lissa Price – It’s a killer concept; as life extends, the bodies of the young will have a premium. And where there is a premium, there is a market… The cover is totally awesome too.
  7. How to Keep a Boy as a Pet by Diane Messidoro – Again I am declaring my personal interest here. I totally fell in love with this book following Circe’s awkward journey to love and self-confidence. I still often think what sort of party I would be, if I were a party… Snortingly funny and surprisingly moving.
  8. Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett – Actually anything by Sonya Hartnett. She is the queen of Australian YA, and her books defy age categorisation.
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Ending with two classics. This incredible novel hs been loved for generations and is still as relevant and poignant as when it was first published.
  10. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger – Gives new meaning and depth to teenage angst. Perilous and confronting, not an easy read, but an eminently rewarding one.

*Not including ubiquitous YA phenomenons like The Hunger Games and Twilight.