Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Five More Contemporary YA Books to Read Before YALC

YALC is in ELEVEN DAYS TIME! But don't worry, there's still time to get some reading done...maybe just a little if you've got to work! If you want some moral support, the YALC Readathon Challenge is still open, and if my first recommendations post wasn't enough, I am here for you:

1. Counting Stars, by Keris Stainton

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Counting Stars is at the older end of YA, it could be called NA (New Adult), and it is my favourite of Keris' books that I've read so far. It follows Anna who moves to Liverpool after she finishes school to move into a shared house and work at a theatre, keeping her YouTube channel going all the while. Anna and her housemates deal with adulthood in very different ways, and it was really interesting and entertaining to see them work their way through grown-up problems for the first time. I wrote a draft of a NA novel last year and Counting Stars, although quite different from what I'm working on, confirmed my belief that it's important that we have more books featuring characters of this age. Keris will be leading a workshop on Writing YA on the Saturday at YALC.

2. Hacker, by Malorie Blackman

This is a really quick read so ideal if you haven't got much reading time in the next couple of weeks! Vicky's father, a programmer at a bank, is wrongfully accused of stealing a million pounds. To clear his name, she logs into the bank's system and tries to work out what has been going on. It was first published in 1992, so it is a bit dated - for a more detailed explanation, watch the video above - but it's still a quick read, ideal for younger teens.

3. Remix, by Non Pratt

Non will be joining Sophia Bennett on the 'Teenage Soundtrack: Music in YA' panel, and rightly so, as Remix is all about the power of music to bring friends together. I made it sound totally cheesy then, didn't I? It's not, I promise! Remix is about best friends, Kaz and Ruby, who are going to a music festival together. Their favourite band in the world is playing, and a bunch of their friends are going. In theory, this should be the perfect break from normality, but both of them have secrets they're trying not to let slip out... I did a full review of Remix here.

4. Lobsters, by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Another book featuring a music festival is Lobsters, but it's quite different in tone - Remix is more serious, full of friendship and romantic dramas, whereas Lobsters is very much a heartwarming romantic comedy. The tag line is 'A socially awkward love story' and that is exactly what you get, as Sam and Hannah try and fail and try again to get together. It's very funny. In fact, I don't think I've stopped laughing at it and I read it months ago - lines from the book pop into my head sometimes and I start cracking up all over again. I would share my favourite line, the one I laugh at the most, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Just read it for yourself! The authors are leading a workshop on co-writing.

5. Nobody's Girl, by Sarra Manning

If festivals aren't your thing, why not take a trip to Paris with Bea, who has been obsessed with France ever since her mum first told her that her absent father was a Parisien. When she gets the chance to explore Paris for real, she can't resist - even though she was meant to be in Spain with her school's Mean Girl clique. She finds romance and adventure and gets into a lot of trouble with her mum. My full review is here.

Have you read any of these? If you haven't, get on it! While we're having this heatwave, why not roll with it and take copies of Remix and or Lobsters to the park? Go on! Join the Readathon!

Many thanks to Hot Key Books for sending me a copy of Counting Stars and to Walker Books for sending me Remix.

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