Wednesday, 1 December 2010

My YA Novels of the Year

These are the books I have already blogged about this year or have had guest posts for: When I was Joe, The Enchanted Glass, Castle of Shadows, Wasted, Dead Boy Talking & Almost True, City of Thieves, The Mourning Emporium.

What a year!  And that's with my having to take time out from reviewing YA fiction from May to September because I was a judge for the Booktrust Teenage Book Prize. Then, once I was reading books that fell outside that time period, I could write about novels again.

And there are others, that were part of our longlist or shortlist that I couldn't mention at the time, so I'm now going to rave about a few more! The Prize was given to Gregory Hughes' striking debut, Unhooking the Moon, but that were some other corkers on the shortlist.

I particularly liked Halo by Zizou Corder, an unusual story about an orphaned girl brought up by Centaurs in ancient Greece. I thought it full of unexpected events and plot developments and interesting characters. Sarra Manning's Nobody's Girl was a perhaps more usual teenage girl fare but I so loved the way the heroine got her revenge on the mean girls and their Queen Bee that it stood out for me.

There were several books on our longlist that I really rated too - Keren David's When I was Joe (see above), Tamsyn Murray's quirky black comedy My so-called Afterlife and Marie-Louise Jensen's Daughter of Fire and Ice, to name but three.

And since the judging ended I read, reviewed and drooled over Gillian Philip's Firebrand, which is my Book of the Year in this category. Published by a smallish independent, Strident (who also published Linda Strachan's Dead Boy Talking and her earlier Spider, which just won the Catalyst award) Firebrand has already re-printed and is moving off the bookshop shelves faster than you can say "paranormal romance."

I said in my review for the Guardian that I hadn't enjoy a book in this genre so much since Susan Price's The Sterkarm Handshake, which leads me to two pieces of good news: Firebrand is the first in a trilogy and - pause here for a roll of drums - Susan Price is well stuck in to a third novel about the Sterkarms.

I can't wait for all these and many other great books in the coming years. And I hope to review them all here.


Lucy Coats said...

Never truer words said--the only ones I haven't read are the Manning and the Hughes (have the latter in pile, will order former). As you know (!), I am a huge proselytiser of the Firebrand faith, and, like Keren, am giving it to many many people for Christmas. I've been terribly late to the Sterkarm party--can't think why I missed out--but having just finished A Sterkarm Kiss, am utterly delighted to know that Per and Entraya will ride again.

Keren David said...

Firebrand is fantastic - but then I knew it would be because I'm a total fangirl about Gillian's books. As Lucy said,I'm giving it to every red-blooded woman I know.

Katherine Langrish said...

They certainly are all brilliant books, Mary!

Kathryn Evans said...

Ah, the lure of that wicked faery boy....

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