roundup by Claire Hennessy
Grief, loss, and a sense of “brokenness” suffuse several recent young adult titles, although these thematic similarities still result in very different novels. The most intriguing and innovative of this month’s selection is Kendra Fortmeyer’s Hole in the Middle (Atom, £7.99), in which 17-year-old Morgan has a literal gap in her body that she’s kept hidden for years. When she finally bares the hole in her stomach at a nightclub, she finds herself “more myself than I have ever been”, but this sense of self-worth is soon impinged upon by a social media frenzy.
This in turns to leads to meeting Lump Boy, whose body offers up her missing puzzle piece – but Morgan is suitably sceptical about the idea that this stranger is her “destiny”. The magical realist element allows for a sharp but never preachy take on body image, romance and internet culture, most delightfully when strangers speak up about their own “holes”, having “found an empowering metaphor for their lives” in the narrator. An optimistic ending is hard-won rather than saccharine. With this debut, Fortmeyer establishes herself as a writer to watch.
10 YA NOVELS THAT REMIND YOU TRUE FRIENDSHIP NEVER DIES
If there’s one thing YA books are great at, it’s being life-affirming hugs of comfort and joy. So to rekindle your belief in love, we’ve picked out some of the best girl-mances in YA books that will restore your faith in friendship.
Suzanne & Caddy from Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard
This was one of the best debuts of 2016, and one of the things readers loved most about this book was that it focused on the diversity of female friendships and not on romance.
Caddy and Suzanne’s relationship is complex, interesting and brings out the best in both of them in brilliant realism. This will give you all the friend feels!
Evie, Lottie and Amber from The Spinster Club Series by Holly Bourne
Holly Bourne writes female friendships so well, and it’s a pleasure to see the beginnings of the Spinster Club in Am I Normal Yet?
The girls are distinct and different, but supportive and so much fun to read. You will want to join their feminist squad for sure after reading this!
Kaz and Ruby from Remix by Non Pratt
Summer , your best friend and a music festival – what more could a girl ask for?
This brilliantly summery tale from the incredible Non Pratt painted the picture of a very real friendship that we can all recognise. Differences in your personalities, but true love deep down all the way.
Limpett, Stefan and Jared from The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt
While there is some underlying romantic tension in these friendships, we think that’s one of the best things about them. How often do we find 100% purely platonic relationships between men and women afterall?
You’ll love the way Maggie plays with this and keeps you guessing, all the while weaving the cutest of friendship moments in there.
Violet and Raven from The Jewel by Amy Ewing
It’s not just contemporary YAs that rule at amazing friendships. Amy Ewing’s hugely popular fantasy novel follows surrogates who are auctioned off to give birth for noble families.
Violet’s dedication to Raven and how that drives her is one of the most heartfelt relationships in a fantasy YA we’ve read in a real long time.
for the remaining recommendations see Still heartbroken about Camila quitting Fifth Harmony? 10 YA novels that remind you true friendship never dies | Maximum Pop!.
A roundup of significant YA titles selected by Ellen Tannan
In bringing together a 15-year-old author, a toon production company and the world’s largest SVOD service, new young-adult film The Kissing Booth tells a lot about evolving creative processes in 2016.
Netflix is adapting the novel written and published by rookie teen author Beth Reekles on Wattpad, where it garnered more than 19 million views on the online free publishing site. UK-based film and TV production company Komixx Media Group is producing the feature-length film for the SVOD, with writer/director Vince Marcello (Teen Beach Movie) on-board to direct from his own screenplay.
For Komixx, which produces preschool series Toby’s Travelling Circus and Wanda and the Alien, the Netflix commission represents a milestone in its strategy to acquire and produce more YA drama for tweens and teens.
So what on earth could I have against kids reading YA, which at least generally includes characters of the ‘right’ age?
Partly, it’s because many of them aren’t, in fact, properly adult books. Of course there are great YA writers – Meg Rosoff, Patrick Ness, Mal Peet, Phil Earle, Sarah Crossan, Faye Bird, Jo Nadin and many others, who are among our finest contemporary writers, irrespective of age or genre. But too much of the rest is dross, presenting watered down, bowdlerised versions of life, selling kitsch ideas and witlessly soft-focus romantic reflections of reality – and yes, I’m looking at you, John Green.
YA genre fiction (SF and fantasy) is particularly anaemic. The endless lazy dystopias, with kick-ass heroines saving the world from some unconvincing mega government, the sexy vampire bullshit, the boringly overdone quirky superhero novel – please, no more. Honestly, the kids would be far better off encountering adult SF and fantasy, where their minds might be stretched, rather than their preconceptions cosily nurtured.
the full piece via YA or Not YA – Barrington Stoke.
To bursts of nervous laughter, YA author Anthony McGowan kicked it off by citing Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of YA was crap, pandered to by an audience that treated the whole thing as a “this kind of amorphous quasi religion”, more of a cult than category. He lamented speaking to “monocultural audiences” of white, older women at YA conferences. Some misogynistic, cause-and-effect musing began: most YA bloggers were women, all his editors were women, “so there is a huge amount of energy directing these kinds of texts, texts that may well appeal to women in their 20s and 30s rather than to teenagers. We’ve got this female-dominated world producing texts that reflect themselves, for other young adult women,” he said, perhaps unaware of the significance of making links between gender and perceived quality.
YA may not be a genre (it is a category, as is so often sighed), but the debate devolved into a value judgment regardless, as debates around genre so often do. “I don’t think adults should read YA stuff,” McGowan argued, as authors such as Elizabeth Wein and Philip Womack disagreed. “I think they should move on and read Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky or Dickens and stop reading Twilight and The Hunger Games,” McGowan said. “It is part of being a grown-up, you leave those things behind.”
You should also read McGowan’s more nuanced take on this subject here:
Andersen Press has acquired a YA novel by debut author and bookseller Catherine Barter.
Fiction editor Chloe Sackur acquired world rights from Laura Williams at PFD.
Sackur said: “I believe Catherine is a bright new star in British YA fiction. Troublemakers is an achingly honest coming-of-age novel about family, and the politicised world we live in. It’s got something to say for itself but it still wears its heart on its sleeve.”
The title will be published June 2017.
full piece via Bookseller Barter’s YA debut snapped up | The Bookseller.
Wild Words Children’s Book Festival has rapidly gained its reputation as Ireland’s best Young Adult (YA) writing festival.This is primarily because Wild Words has attracted teenagers back to books and because the festival has picked up on the zeitgeist; a golden age for young adult books. Extraordinarily talented writers like Sarah Crossan, Dave Rudden and Eilís Barrett who are all part of this new wave underpin the reputation of the festival.With masterclasses, workshops, readings and other activities, the festival has plenty for every age group. This year however, with a wealth of new titles hitting the bookshelves, there is a strong emphasis on books for young adults.When Dave Rudden was at Wild Words last year he had just signed a six-figure book deal with Puffin. Those in attendance got a sneak preview of Knights of the Borrowed Dark. It has since been published – and it’s great. Rudden has been noted as “an author to watch” and Knights of the Borrowed Dark described as “a pacy, entertaining read, but with a heart, too.”It’s been a great year for Sarah Crossan too. Her new novel One, which tells the story of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi, has earned her the Bookseller’s Young Adult Book Prize, the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. For Wild Words Sarah will be giving a masterclass and appearing alongside first time author Eilís Barrett, who at 16 years of age has already published her first novel Oasis, fulfilling one of her life ambitions. Oasis tells the story of Quincy Emerson, a young girl who is on the run because she carries the X gene that causes a virus that nearly wiped out the human race. The book is gripping and all aspiring young authors will want to meet this remarkable young woman.
Not sure I agree with Anthony McGowan when he says, “Some of these books appeal to me, as an adult, because they are not teenage books at all.”
He seems to be discounting the possibility that teenage or YA fiction is capable of also satisfying an adult reader.
Just because I, an adult, enjoy reading a particular YA novel, doesn’t make it any less YA.
I’m currently reading RADIO SILENCE by Alice Oseman, a novel deeply embedded in teen experience and culture. It’s very clearly not a book that would have been suited to a publisher’s adult fiction list, but that doesn’t prevent it being a good adult as well as a good teen read.
So what’s the problem? Well, I’d contend that at least some of these books appeal to me, as an adult, because they are not teenage books at all. They are adult fiction. The themes, the style, often even the characters belong in the world of adult literature. It is just some quirk of publishing that has left them washed up on the YA shore. For example, Mal Peet’s masterpiece, Life: An Exploded Diagram, was simply the best novel I read in 2011. It should have been up for the Booker prize. It was published as YA because Mal had always been published as YA.
Alongside these many fine novels there is plenty of dross. As with most areas of publishing, YA follows the 90% rule. And much YA is a lazy, disheartening mush of false problems, fake solutions, idealised romance, second-rate fantasy, tired dystopias. Easy to read; easy to forget.
But my main concern isn’t with quality. For me, the problem is that a huge amount of theoretically teenage publishing is churning out books that simply aren’t for teenagers at all. And that must mean, given the finite opportunities for new books, that “real” teenage books aren’t getting published.