Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't Read British YA
I wasn't sure at first what to choose as my 'X'. I don't consider myself expert enough on the subject of YA in general to pick ten books out for someone who isn't a fan already, but then I remembered that I have a much longer history with British YA than with just YA in general - going all the way back to when I was an actual teenager!
As much as I love reading about all the things they have in the USA that we don't have here, like alternative high schools and proms and New York, British YA (or 'teen fiction' as it is more commonly known here) is my favourite. Opening up a book in which young people spell colour with an 'u', go charity shopping (not thrifting), heap scorn upon (or secretly love) The X Factor, and/or drink tea more often than coffee feels like coming home. Fictional British teenagers are also much more likely than fictional American teenagers to go to house parties/sneak into nightclubs and get drunk. FACT. Plus (mostly thanks to Sarra Manning) we have the hottest hot indie/art boys!
So if you like bad behaviour and British slang, read on, and read more British YA/teen fiction! Most of these are contemporary, because that's what I read (and write) most of the time, but I've tried really hard to pick out a couple that aren't.
1. Let's Get Lost, by Sarra Manning
Isabel is the Queen of Mean at her school, and is determined to stay at the top, even after her mother dies. Then one night at a party, she meets Smith, a ridiculously drunk student who mistakes her for his friend, and everything starts to change. I am planning to re-read and review this book soon, I keep thinking about it. (Okay, now I have retrieved it from its usual shelf and put it on my TBR, hehe)
2. Della Says: OMG, by Keris Stainton
Della gets asked out by her crush, but then the next day, she discovers that her diary (in which she was constantly writing about how much she fancied him) is missing. She gets a Facebook message with a photo of one of the most embarrassing pages, but she doesn't know who's got it. I enjoyed this so much, and am considering re-reading it soon as well!
3. Hard Cash/Moving Out, by Kate Cann
Kate Cann is really, really good at writing convincing teenage boys. Moving Out, originally titled Hard Cash, is the first in a trilogy told from the point of view of Rich, a broke art student, who is fed up of living with his similarly-poor parents and is in lust with posh Portia. Kate Cann is also well known for the Coll and Art trilogy, and Fiesta is a great summer book, I've read it several times. I also enjoyed Leader of the Pack.
4. French Letters and French Leave, by Eileen Fairweather
Okay, if you're not British or know nothing about the Eighties you may not understand half of the references in this pair of novels. But that's okay, because there are SO MANY jokes that there will still be plenty left for you. Maxine Harrison is a girl who decides that it's a good idea to tell her French penpal that her dad is the Head of London Transport, when actually he's a bus conductor. Then he announces that he's coming to visit.
5. Noughts & Crosses, by Malorie Blackman
In a world dominated by the dark-skinned Crosses, a rich Cross girl and a poor pale-skinned Nought boy dare to be best friends and maybe fall in love. A gripping and devastating thriller.
6. Extreme Kissing, by Luisa Plaja
I read this a couple of years ago, and I don't know why I haven't reviewed it yet! It's a really fun story about best friends Bethany and Carlotta, and a madcap day out in London that changes everything. The twist at the end I did not see coming, and I keep remembering it and thinking how genius it was.
7. The Diary Of A Crush Trilogy, by Sarra Manning
Because although, objectively, they're not as good as Let's Get Lost, or Nobody's Girl, once you fall in love with Dylan you will never be the same again. Art boys forever!
8. Girl Meets Cake, by Susie Day
Another one with loads of cute boys, Girl Meets Cake is a light-hearted read about a girl who invents an imaginary boyfriend to make herself seem cooler. All goes well until her friends start sending him messages, and she starts getting e-mails from someone calling himself Mysterious E.
9. Witch Child, by Celia Rees
This was a bestseller when I was a teen. It's about a girl in the 17th Century called Mary who has to leave her home after her grandmother is found guilty of witchcraft. She goes to America with the Puritans, but finds herself in trouble when people in her new town start accusing her of being a witch.
10. Night School, by C. J. Daughterty
This is cheating somewhat as it's the last book I read! Middle-class miscreant Allie is sent to a posh British boarding school, where at first everything seems very elegant and proper, but secrets abound.