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
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 finding @sophiabennett‘s Love Song so unputdownable I am literally reading it while I #ukyachat. Not even kidding I’m on page 156
— Julianne Benford (@ladyjulianne) April 8, 2016
@SnugglingonSofa @sophiabennett I basically had to abandon my own writing to finish it because it was so addictive! I even ignored Two Dots!
— Julianne Benford (@ladyjulianne) April 11, 2016
I am really looking forward to the Music in YA panel!
3. London Belongs to Us, by Sarra Manning
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.
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
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!