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.
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.