Today, the 12th of April is UKYA DAY! (I think it should all be in capitals, I’m that excited!) It’s a celebration of YA, written by UK authors, or authors living in the UK, and it’s brilliant. (That’s a real fact.)
UKYA needs to be championed by all who love it. Reading books by UK authors is so inspiring, especially because both Bee and I want to be authors some day, and part of not just the people who love it, but the people who create it.
So, without further ado, let’s have some recommendations!
1. Solitaire by Alice Oseman
I almost can’t believe this book is written because it’s so realistic, I’m not quite sure how Alice Osman wrote down what teenagers think that accurately! Tori Spring, the main character, is a child of the internet and a pessimist. She mets a boy called Michael Holden, who helps her to realise that she’s not alone. What makes ‘Solitaire’ so great, though, is that it’s not a love story. Who would have thought it, a boy and a girl can be friends without a romantic attachment! There’s some mystery and some mental health and sexuality representation…it’s got everything you need and everything the current YA market is missing. Read it, like, now.
2. Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve
I will champion this book to my grave, I swear. A lot of the UKYA that’s popular are contemporaries. ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ makes it’s own YA genre, as a mixture of technology and fantasy. There’s magic. There’s computer-generated worlds. There’s a ghost girl, and a hedgewitch and a monster lurking in a creepy castle. So many beautiful things combined to make the most exciting and vivid duology. Again, I could not recommend it more.
3. Geek Girl by Holly Smale
UKYA Day is just another opportunity for us to rave about how much we love the ‘Geek Girl’ series. Harriet Manners is an amazing character – she’s well-rounded, endearing, hilarious, sweet and a little bit clueless. (All my favourite qualities!) I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at four books. FOUR BOOKS. If you haven’t started this series yet, you’ve got a lot of amazing UKYA to catch up on!
4. Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh
This EXCELLENT book often slips under the radar, because it was published in 2010. ‘Lula’ was probably our very first UKYA, and we will treasure it forever. Like ‘Solitaire’, so much goes on within this book. It’s not just one girl’s quest to be kissed before her 16th birthday. It’s a crime mystery, there’s a witchy presence in the forest and Lula has a job all book lovers would crave. She works in a library. Funny and adorable, ‘Kisses for Lula’ is not to be missed.
5. The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
All the books I’ve recommended so far have been quite cute. ‘The Year of the Rat’ is completely different. I absolutely love books that deal with difficult subjects, like bereavement. What was so amazing about this book, was its sense of realism. The protagonist, Pearl, did not glamourise the situation. She was not mature and sensible. She was a real teenager, dealing with the death of her mother. If you’re looking for something a little deeper than a search for true love’s kiss, this is it.
So, those were are recommendations for UKYA. The sub-genre of YA is definitely rising to prominence, as more authors take to the shelves, with a UK background. (Have I said UKYA too much in this blog? Answer: no. I’m going to shout it from the rooftops all morning.)
What would you recommend on this glorious UKYA Day? Let us know!