Sunday, June 19, 2016

Five Contemporary YA Books to Read before YALC

As host of the 2016 YALC Readathon Challenge I've been thinking a lot about what books I would recommend by authors attending YALC. Hopefully I'll do several posts in this series, but I thought I'd start with five contemporary YA books, as that is my favourite genre!
1. Girl Out of Water, by Nat Luurtsema

View on Instagram

This is the first book I read for the YALC Readathon Challenge (go on, join me!) and it was a great way to *PUN ALERT* dive in - Girl Out of Water follows Lou Brown's attempts to find new friends and a new place in the world following her failure to get into Olympic swimming school.
It's funny (Nat is on the Funny YA panel), heartwarming, and deals with an issue I think is underexplored in fiction - coping with failure. Not everyone is going to succeed against all the odds. Sometimes the odds are never in your favour - and you keep going, like Lou learns to do.

2. Love Song, by Sophia Bennett

I have read some amazing books so far this year and plan to read many more - but I'm sure whatever happens this will be in my top five. I was not expecting to fall in love with a story about a girl who goes on tour with a boyband, but reader, I fell HARD.
I am really looking forward to the Music in YA panel!

3. London Belongs to Us, by Sarra Manning

Both Sarra Manning's 2016 releases. View on Instagram

If you've never read any books by Sarra before this is a great place to start - though if you're spoiler-averse you may want to read Guitar Girl and Adorkable first. An enormously entertaining love letter to London filled with snappy one-liners, it follows Sunny's pursuit of her wayward boyfriend (or is he ex-boyfriend?) over one night and features pastries, parties, perilous road journeys, dramatic confrontations and hairspray. There are also several girls you'll wish you could be friends with - highly appropriate as Sarra is on the #SquadGoals panel.

4. Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan
Look at my beautiful hardback. Just look at it.

View on Instagram

If just gazing at the cover isn't enough to make you pick it up, this is an LGBT classic. It's a pretty straightfoward romance story with the usual tropes but it's set at a school where there isn't really any homophobia - it's a utopian vision of what school should be like, and although it's not realistic, it's lovely to disappear into a world where things are a little more as they should be.

5. My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend, by Eleanor Wood

From my 'Music March'. View on Instagram

This is a funny and surprisingly realistic story about Tuesday Cooper, a music blogger who starts getting comments from her favourite rockstar. One thing leads to another and he becomes the secret boyfriend of the title, getting her into trouble with friends and family alike. It's really interesting seeing how she deals with the mess she's in and moves towards adulthood.
What books by YALC authors do you recommend? Would you choose different books by these authors? Let me know! And don't forget to vote for your favourites!

Friday, June 03, 2016

The YALC Readathon Challenge 2016

There are two inspirations behind this bookish bonanza - traditional reading challenges, which I don't think have been done before for YALC, and the YALC Readathon, which was previously run by Jess Hearts Books (the creator), Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies, Vicky from Books, Biscuits and Tea, and Carly from Writing from the Tub.

I originally planned to start a YALC Reading Challenge months ago, because of the sheer number of authors who are going to be at YALC (the Young Adult Literature Convention) this year. I have a LOT of reading to do. And so have you! There are some amazing people on the list with fantastic titles under their belt.

However, I then got the flu. I could barely use my computer for the best part of three weeks thanks to muscle pain and fatigue that my doctor insisted was completely normal! Sure enough, I did eventually get better, but now I've lost so much time I decided to combine both ideas, and host the first Readathon Challenge!
Enough about me, onto the rules:

The books that you read for the 2016 YALC Readathon Challenge must be by authors who are appearing at YALC this year. You can see the list of authors who have been confirmed so far here. I also run the annual YALC Goodreads list, where you can vote for your favourite reads.

If you're unable to attend YALC this year, you can still take part in the challenge - there will be a lot of livetweeting during the convention! If you're not in the UK, why not sign up and sample some of the finest authors the British Isles have to offer, as well as some internationally successful reads?

This Readathon Challenge is open from today (3 June 2016) until the final day of YALC (31 July 2016).

Decided to take part?

Step One
Choose how long you want to readathon for - a weekend, a week, a fortnight, a month, from now until the 31st July, a single evening - it's up to you!

Step Two
Choose your level:
Convention Intention - read 1-4 books by authors who are appearing at YALC
Convention Attention - read 5-15 books by authors who are appearing at YALC
Convention Affection - read 16-25 books by authors who are appearing at YALC
Convention Perfection - read 26+ books by authors who are appearing at YALC

You can increase your level if you find yourself reading faster than you expected!

Step Three (optional)
Choose a Bonus Challenge, if you'd like, or more than one if you're feeling brave:

Happy Historian - previously, at YALC... read two or more books by an author who has appeared at YALC in the past and won't be there this year
Brilliant Bookswapper - read two or more books that you want to give away to another blogger or donate to the YALC bookswap
Radiant Reviewer - review two or more books by authors who are appearing at YALC

Step Four
Submit your link below!

If you have a blog, please link to a post that says what level and bonus challenge you have chosen, or update your reading challenges list, if like me, you keep them all in one place. You don't have to be a blogger to take part - if you don't have a blog, you can link to your Twitter or Goodreads instead. You can use the banner above if you wish :)

Personally, I am going to choose the Convention Attention level, and I'm hoping to read the following:

It's going well, I'm already part-way through Girl Out of Water and loving it!

After YALC I will do a post and link to my favourite reviews by people taking part in the challenge. You can also tweet about the challenge and share your progress by using the hashtag #yalcread

I hope you decide to take part in the YALC Readathon Challenge and have an amazing time!

Edited to add, here's a quick video in which I talk about the challenge:

Please note that the YALC Readathon Challenge is unofficial - I have no professional connection with Showmasters or Booktrust.


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