Sunday, 4 October 2015

UKYA Extravaganza Blog Tour: Kerry Drewery!

As part of the UKYAX blog tour today, I'm really pleased to introduce Kerry Drewery, who has put together a list her favourite UKYA books for you!

As the UKYA Extravaganza is a celebration of UKYA I thought it’d be nice to do a piece about my favourite UKYA.

This is really quite hard though!  There’s so much and what I choose today might not be what I’d choose tomorrow.  To try and make it a bit easier, I thought I’d break it down into five categories.  So, here we go –

  • Favourite UKYA from my teenage years

The Chrysalids – John Wyndham

Back when I was a teenager there was no YA category, I think though, that if this book was released now, it would be in that category.  I read it as part of my GCSE English and absolutely fell in love with it.  It’s about David, who lives in a post-apocalyptic society where anything different from the norm is classed as Mutant.  These Mutants are driven out of society and left to either survive in the wilds, or perish.  David has something that would mean he would be classed a Mutant if he was found it.  As he slowly ‘meets’ others just like him they are discovered and must flee for their survival.

  • Favourite UKYA I’ve Read This Year

Seven Days – Eve Ainsworth

The thing that differentiates this novel for me, and that makes it so important is that it looks at bullying from both sides.  Told over seven days from the point of view of both the bullied Jess, and the bullying Kez, it leads to a terrifying climax.  I think its importance to today’s teenagers really struck home with me after doing school visits and realising, or remembering, how difficult teen relationships and friendships can be.

  • Favourite UKYA Dystopian
ACID - Emma Pass

Well, this is a no-brainer decision!  Of course this has to go to Emma Pass’ ACID.  What I especially love about it, well two things really, is the imagination gone into creating the world where Jenna is being hunted down for supposedly killing her dad, and the amount of twists yet all making absolute sense.  The reader is dragged in at the beginning and pulled along on this roller-coaster of emotions and excitement.

  • Fave UKYA Ghost Story

Glimpse – Kendra Leighton

I do love a good ghost story.  This is inspired by the Alfred Noyes poem, The Highwayman, although it incorporates a lot of the poem it still manages to make itself individual from it.  Teenage Liz has a tragic past and a miserable present; she and her father have moved to the Highwayman Inn for a fresh start, but Liz doesn’t fit in at school, and she keeps seeing Glimpses – ghostly images of bodies and humans! It’s got atmosphere, tension, nightmares, romance and mystery.

  • Favourite UKYA Fantasy

The Name of the Blade, Book One – The Night Itself – Zoe Marriott

Set in modern-day London yet with ancient Japanese gods and monsters, technically I suppose this falls into urban fantasy category, but that’s what I really love about it.  It’s set somewhere I’ve been, yet it has this crazy juxtaposition and it just makes it feel as if it could actually happen.  With teenage Mio – a Londoner of Japanese descent – ‘borrowing’ a family heirloom, all kind of unexpected consequences come hurtling her way.  Shadow beasts, monsters, Japanese folklore, and all at an absolutely cracking pace.

There is so much stunning UKYA talent out there – many overlooked – and I’d urge people to seek them out.  A good place to start would be to look at the marvellous authors we have at the UKYA Extravaganza this time, or at the programme for the UKYA Shot this month too.  We have a wonderful history of children’s literature here in the UK, let’s help support it into the future.

Kerry Drewery is a YA author of A Brighter Fear and A Dream of Lights (Leeds Book Award shortlisted, CILIP Carnegie nominated and NETBA award winner.)
Her new novel – CELL 7 – is set in a world where a sinister reality TV show has replaced the justice system and teenage Martha is accused of murdering Jackson Paige, a self-made millionaire. Like all the other criminals in the story, her fate will be decided by the public, who will choose whether she lives or dies.  To be published in 2016 by Hot Key Books.

Would you like to attend the UKYAX event? Check out the infographic below!

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