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Bookish Treasures Recommends - UKYA

Monday, 28 July 2014
Being based in the UK I get to see and read a lot of great books written by UK authors (and often set in the UK also). If you also live in the UK and want to support home-grown authors or are an international reader wanting a little variety, below are some of my favourite UKYA novels.

The Elites by Natasha Ngan



Synopsis

‘There is a rumour that the Elites don’t bleed.’

Hundreds of years into the future, wars, riots, resource crises and rising sea-levels have destroyed the old civilisations. Only one city has survived: Neo-Babel, a city full of cultures – and racial tension.

Fifteen-year-old Silver is an Elite, a citizen of Neo-Babel chosen to guard the city due to her superior DNA. She’d never dream of leaving – but then she fails to prevent the assassination of Neo Babel’s president, setting off a chain of events more shocking and devastating than she could ever have imagined. Forced to flee the city with her best friend Butterfly (a boy with genetically-enhanced wings), Silver will have to fight to find her family, uncover the truth about Neo-Babel and come to terms with her complicated feelings for Butterfly.

Packed full of adventure, romance, exoticism and the power of friendship, The Elites is a highly compelling and beautifully written novel from a supremely talented debut author.


Thoughts

Not only does The Elites have one of the most beautiful covers ever created, it also has equally beautiful and evocative writing. Throw in an intriguiging, high-tension plot line and some sweet romance and you have a winner. This was one of my favourite reads of 2013 and one of my favourite ever dystopian novels. Check out my review here!

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Glaze by Kim Curran



Synopsis

Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.

Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.

As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.


Thoughts

I'm not sure how to describe the genre of Glaze, it isn't quite dystopia as it is set quite close to current time and is more the start of a dystopic society. Whatever it is, Glaze is a damn good book. It is action packed from start to finish and Petri is a character you can't help but root for.

I was supposed to review this book a while ago but had a bad health week and then exams. Expect to see a full review later this summer!

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan



Synopsis

Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.


Thoughts

This is a super cute and fun contemporary read. Bea is a relatable, lovable character and the story has JIVE DANCING. I couldn't stop giggling throughout this book and it is such a refreshing read that is perfect for summer. Check out my review here!

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Acid by Emma Pass



Synopsis

The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong's world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna's violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary.

When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn't know who to trust?

Strong, gritty writing, irresistible psychological suspense, and action consume the novel as Jenna struggles to survive against the all-controlling ACID. Seriously sinister stuff.


Thoughts

Yet another tremendously beautiful cover that is also for an excellent dystopian novel. The world of Acid is the home of one of my favourite female characters - the incredibly kick-ass but at times vulnerable Jenna Strong. This book is set in a futuristic England ruled by a controlling police force that is terrifyingly imaginable.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Blood Red Road by Moira Young



*The cover has changed now to something more typical but I have a soft spot for this interesting original*

Synopsis

Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

Thoughts

This book is not set in the UK nor is the author originally from the UK but she does live here now which means we can claim this book! This is another fantastic dystopia with a well developed world and a fantastic MC. One of my favourite things about this book is the way it is written - there are no quotation marks and it is written the exact way the characters speak which helps to bring them to life. Though I know some people struggled with the writing, it made the book for me.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Goddess by Laura Powell



Synopsis

Strikes. Starvation. Riots. Britain is at breaking-point and Aura is blind to it all. The Cult of Artemis is the only home she’s ever known. Enclosed in its luxury lifestyle, the unrest gripping the country seems to belong to a distant world. Her dream is to serve the Goddess and taking a vow of chastity and obedience seems a small price to pay. But days before Aura is due to be initiated as a Priestess, she meets Aiden, the rebellious son of a cult insider, whose radical ideas and unsettling charm force Aura to question everything – and everyone – she knows.

Thoughts

This is a dystopia-esque book with an interesting mystical twist. Goddess is kind of in its own unique genre but it is definitely worth a read whatever your YA preference as it has something for everyone. I will hopefully have a review up for this soon so keep your eyes peeled.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon

Looking For JJ



Synopsis

Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day, only two of them came back. Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago, though it’s still hard for her to believe it. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life—she has a job, friends, and a boyfriend whom she adores. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad... and it’s about to rip her new life apart.

A gripping and emotionally searing novel by accomplished British author Anne Cassidy, Looking for JJ infuses a terrifying subject with humanity and hope.


Thoughts

I love this book because it is so unique. It deals with a topic that not many people would dare to go and it does so in such a great way. In Looking For JJ we have characters that have done terrible things and whilst I do not agree with their actions (and doubt anyone will) Anne Cassidy makes you understand their motivations so well that it impossible to judge them for what they have done. If you want a book with an MC who is a far cry from the traditional "perfect" girl then this is the book for you. Also incredible is the follow up novel Finding Jennifer Jones.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Riot by Sarah Mussi


Synopsis

It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.

The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.

The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.

But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.

It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT:

OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.


Thoughts

Sarah Mussi has created a possible future that is scarily realistic and plausible; the world is captivating and is what makes Riot one of my favourite reads of this year. The lead characters are great and I loved that Tia is such an avid protester even though she is one of the lucky ones who would be unaffected. She isn't a strong character in a kick-ass fighting way but instead in how she selflessly stands up for others. Overall a wonderful read that will leave you questioning all you thought you knew about politicians.

Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon


Most of the above recommendations are dystopias and most of those dystopias set in a near futuristic London with a government/police force that has gone power mad so if you have any recommendations of different genre UKYA please let me know!

Those are my recommendations, now on to a few books that have been recommended to me. I am hoping to get a copy of all of these very soon.

Trouble by Non Pratt




Synopsis

In this dazzling debut novel, a pregnant teen learns the meaning of friendship—from the boy who pretends to be her baby’s father.

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Bone Jack by Sara Crowe



Synopsis

Ash's dad has just returned from war, close to breakdown, far from the war hero Ash was expecting. Ash is going to be the stag boy in the annual Stag Chase. He's been waiting to tell his dad he's following in his footsteps, he'll make him proud. But Dad is stuck in a world of imaginary threats.

When Ash's grieving best friend pushes him away too, his world suddenly seems lonely and threatening. So Ash retreats to the mountains, to his punishing training runs. But in the mountains dark things are stirring - the hound boys of old haunt his running steps and Ash hears the death cry of a stag boy. Ash starts to wonder how much of the sinister pagan stories about the Stag Chase are true, and what it all has to do with his friend's anger and grief.

As death haunts his every step, Ash has to find a way to live again.


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Out Of Tune by Beth Reekles



Synopsis

Ashley Bennett is a straight-A student in her junior year of high school, and life is looking good: she's got a boyfriend whom she loves, a group of friends who love to party... But really, Ashley loves to curl up at home with a good book, and she can't wait to go to college. When junior year starts, the life Ashley's settled into is turned upside down - the empty house next door has finally been sold, and moving in is Todd O'Connor...

When Ashley first meets Todd, he seems aloof and cocky, and she's reluctant to share a ride to school with him as her mom tells her to. As the two get to know each other, though, Ashley comes to realise that the mysterious, brooding Todd O'Connor, who all the girls are swooning over, is actually bookish and shy, and a little bit lonely. His dad passed away a few years ago, leaving him in the care of his uncle, and since then Todd has mostly kept to himself, his books, and his guitar.


And as Todd gets to know Ashley, he forces her to realise that her relationship with her boyfriend, Rob, isn't really making her happy - Rob is selfish, arrogant, and domineering. Will Ashley find the courage to forge her own path?


Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK

Please let me know if you have read any of these books, your thoughts and your favourite UKYA novels in the comments :)

7 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of them but Acid, Riot and Blood Red Roar are on my TBR pile and oh, Bone Jack sounds really intriguing! My favourite UKYA novels are Earth Girl by Janer Edwards, which I adore so much, and Half Bad by Sally Green, which is stunning and I fell for it fast when I read it.

    I think it's important to have great UKYA novels alongside the US ones, especially if those novels are located in UK or somewhere else in Europe. It's seems to be way more fresh to read a book located to somewhere in Britain or France or somewhere like that rather than in Maine, Virginia or a small town in Midwest. Maybe it's just me but I like change and variety in my reads.

    Henna @ Howling for Books

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    1. Oh I completely forgot about Half Bad! That is one I own and plan to read very soon :)

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  2. Out of those I've only read Acid and Goddess but the others sound interesting. I do have a copy of Blood Red Road but I haven't gotten around to reading it yet. As a Brit I do love seeing UKYA competing with other books.
    Great post! :)

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    1. Blood Red Road is one of my favourites. The writing just makes it so unique.

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  3. I've not read any of these - yet - but they sound intriguing. As a sidenote, I'm a Canadian author who sets my books in the UK, primarily Scotland. My debut novel - A Shadow in the Past - was set in Aberdeenshire (past and present) near the village where my father was born.

    I tried to post this before and after I logged in to google, the comment was gone. Apologies if it ends up here twice.

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  4. So many fabulous suggestions! Love this post :-)

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