Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Celebration of UK YA

I declare today a celebration of UK YA, crossover and children's literature. Thus declared, I bring you three of my favourite books by UK authors from the last ten years.

Jenny Downham's debut, BEFORE I DIE is a moving story about a sixteen year old girl who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She makes a bucket list of all the things she must do before she has to leave, and on the way discovers that it's the everyday things that she's going to miss doing the most. The writing is gorgeous - funny and poignant - and there is a wonderful dad-daughter relationship, which is always a selling point for me. As with all books about death, it is really about life, and putting the book down, you feel grateful to be here, and inspired to make the most of your time.

Ed Hogan's first YA novel, DAYLIGHT SAVING, is a literary ghost story set in the Leisure World Holiday Complex. The story of a boy's acceptance of himself and his parents, realised through his friendship with the mysterious girl that swims in the lake in the middle of the night. The main characters, Daniel and Lexi, are flawed, funny and real, and their relationship develops into something as believable as it is touching. An amusing, dark book that I haven't been able to forget about.

Ali Lewis's debut, EVERYBODY JAM, takes place in the Australian outback. It tells the story of a cattle ranch-owning family struggling to come to terms with the loss of a teenage son and the unplanned pregnancy of a teenage daughter, and of the accident-prone English girl who unwittingly helps them to do this. Memorable characters, authentic relationships and a pet camel called Buzz, this book has it all. Big themes are dealt with subtly: racism, sexism, fatherhood, and I love the way the book quietly celebrates masculine strength without sentimentalising it.

Have you read any of these books? Do you love UK YA as much as I do? Which books are your favourites? Let me know! I'd love to hear from you.

C.J. Flood writes novels, short stories and plays. Her first book INFINITE SKY comes out with Simon and Schuster in February 2013. She blogs about writing and is also on Twitter.


  1. Oh this is fun!! I don't know any of these authors, but I'll have to try them out. Thanks for the recommendation!!

  2. Yes, you must! You're in for a treat.

  3. I loved Before I Die it was absolutely amazing! Pretty disappointed in the movie though. Wasn't a big fan of Everybody Jam unfortunately, I have to say. I just didn't enjoy it much. And I have Dalight Saving, but have yet to read it! It sounds SO good!

    My favourite UK YA, hmm... I'm a big fan of Sarra Manning and Sarah Alderson! Sarah can be considered even though she lives in Bali, right? She's British! And her Lila series is amazing!