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YALC Reading List: Part 2!

If you missed Part 1 – find it here.

I’ve actually bought my tickets for YALC – I’ll (hopefully) be there for all FOUR days. On Friday, there was a HUGE announcement of authors, and I am so excited – again, the only problem is bring all the books!

Some updates this week: I’ll be posting each section of the YALC reading list every Sunday evening, and I’ve added a #YALC section to my blog – it contains these posts as well as my reviews of YALC books.

Let’s get started, shall we?

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10. Ben Aaronivitch

Book to read: Rivers of London series

I’ve only read the first book in this series, Rivers of London (review here) but I really enjoyed it – I love London-set books, especially when they’re mixed with magic. This series is really original and interesting, with the main character a black policeman assigned to the supernatural division of the Metropolitan Police. I had my copy of Rivers of London signed last year at YALC, but if I pick up Moon Over Soho before July, I’ll be sure to bring it with me.

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11. Holly Bourne

Book to read: Am I Normal Yet?

If you haven’t picked up this book yet, what are you doing? The first in the Spinster Club Trilogy, Am I Normal Yet? (review here) has been shortlisted for the YA book prize, given out as part of World Book Night, and has to be one of the most acclaimed books on Twitter. Each of the books focus on a different Spinster Club member, with How Hard Can Love Be? out February 2016, and What’s A Girl Gotta Do? out August 1st, 2016. I had my copy of How Hard Can Love Be? (review here) signed at Oxford Literary Festival, but I may indulge in a copy of Holly’s debut, Soulmates, before YALC. (I’m also hoping that there will be copies of What’s A Girl Gotta Do? at YALC!)

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12. Sarah Crossan

Book to read: One

One is a really interesting book: it’s written entirely in free verse, and it’s about two girls who are conjoined, and what happens when their medical debt forces them to go to a regular high school. Also nominated for the YA Book Prize 2016, and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, definitely check this one out – it’s deceptively short, but powerful. My copy was signed by Sarah at the Oxford Literary festival, so I won’t be hauling this one around at YALC, but I’m sure plenty of fans will. Read my review here.

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13. Jenny Downham

Book to read: Unbecoming

I’m pretty sure I’ve read Jenny’s debut, Before I Die, which became the film Now Is Good, starring Jeremy Irvine and Dakota Fanning. Unbecoming is her latest novel, nominated for the YA Book Prize 2016. I’m not sure if i’ll have time for this one before YALC, but it looks to be a tale of family life which is ‘funny, sad, honest and wise’.

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14. Michael Grant

Book to read: Front Lines

I’ve heard of Michael Grant before, as the author of the bestselling Gone series. Researching this blog post, I can’t believe I haven’t picked up Front Lines yet – I love World War II alternate history stories (I’m currently reading Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin) but for some reason, I though this was a WWI story, and wasn’t going to be my cup of tea. This is the story of if girls had been called up to fight with the boys in WWII, and it has amazing reviews – I think I’m going to have to pick this one up! I’m sure there will be plenty of fans of the Gone series at YALC.

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15. Rosalind Jana

Book to read: Notes On Being Teenage

Rosalind Jana is a blogger, writer and feminist, and Notes On Being Teenage is her first book, covering all things teenage, with advice and guidance on navigating those teenage years. Filled with real interviews with teenagers, as well as Louise O’Neill, Juno Dawson and Rosianne Halse-Rojas, this looks really interesting – I haven’t read it yet but imagine it to be similar to Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson (review here) and think this could be a quick read to pick up before July. Out June 9th, 2016.

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16. Dr Christian Jessen

Book to read: Dr Christian’s Guide To You

I think most people know Dr Christian from Embarrassing Bodies, and this guide is a practical, medical guide to being a teenager, including puberty, physical and mental heath, and body confidence. I’m a huge supporter of more transparent discussion of a lot of these issues, especially from a medical perspective (what is expected, what you should go to the doctors for, etc.) but I’ll probably give this one a miss, seeing as I’m a bit older than the target audience.

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17. Sophie Kinsella

Book to read: Finding Audrey/Confessions of a Shopaholic

Finding Audrey is Sophie Kinsella’s first YA novel, a sweet romance about Audrey, a 14-year-old with anxiety. I’ll be bringing the first book in her most popular adult series, Confessions of a Shopaholic, which I really do love – I’ve read the first six, as well as a few of Sophie’s standalone novels, which are really fun, too.

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18. Tanya Landman

Book to read: Buffalo Soldier

I haven’t read any Tanya Landman before, to be honest – but Buffalo Soldier, the story of a girl who pretends to be a man and runs off to join the army, won the Carnegie Medal 2015. Her most recent novel, Hell and High Water, came out last September. Both of these novels are historical, and so fans of historical children’s fiction surely can’t go wrong with Tanya’s novels.

Which authors are you dying to see? Which authors do you wish will be announced for YALC?

Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks

Til’ next Sunday (for part 3),

Annalise x

Review: Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

Am I Normal Yet?
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Before I start, I just want to point out that this is my first 5-star review, and for that reason, you should definitely go out and buy this book, RIGHT NOW. I’m serious.

I admit that I probably wouldn’t have bought this book if it hadn’t been free on iBooks. Am I Normal Yet? was a book I heard a lot of praise for at YALC back in July, but I didn’t look too much into what the book was about, and I didn’t think it was for me. I was wrong.

Am I Normal Yet? is the story of Evie, a 16-year-old who is starting sixth form after three years of battling severe OCD and anxiety. After being the weird girl at her old school, she’s looking forward to making new friends, and she’s slowly but surely coming off her meds – trying to become ‘normal’ again. Despite her therapist’s advice, she’s also interested in boys – and one boy in particular.

The characters are well-developed and interesting, and they all feel like people you know – the girl obsessed with her first boyfriend, the sex-obsessed teenage boy… this book is a genuinely great UKYA novel. I’ve not read too many books concerning sixth form/FE colleges which is a shame, because they’re an ideal setting – lots of new characters and character development, but still in the mindset of a teenager (and a solidly YA environment).

I especially loved that the characters are flawed – there is no ‘dream hottie’ but there is sexual tension and obsession. This book is a great reflection of teenage life, rather than some soppy sixteen-year-old who drops everything for an eternity with their 117-year-old vampire lover.

The layout of the novel is also good – there are therapist pages dotted throughout the novel, and Evie’s ‘bad thoughts’ are highlighted. The layout really adds to the feel of the novel.

In the Q&A at the back of the book, Holly Bourne writes that she was inspired by the Georgia Nicholson novels – which are the books that I was reminded of throughout this book. It’s funny, yet tackling some serious issues. As well as being an insight into living with OCD, the book has a great feminist theme (in fact, the characters form a feminist club) and is informative, as well as fun to read. It’s refreshing to read a novel which discusses what it’s really like to be a teenage girl – menstruation, dickhead boyfriends, the whole bundle.

I read this thinking it would be a stand-alone novel, but, thankfully, it is actually the first of a series. The series will be called ‘The Spinster Club’, and the second novel, How Hard Can Love Be? will focus on Amber, with the third book focussing on Lottie. The next book is out February 2016 (and I will be pre-ordering!).

To summarise, this book is fantastic. It’s original, funny and realistic. It’s also incredibly cheap (it’s 59p on Kindle) so please please please go and read it.

View all my reviews

How did you find the novel? Comment below or tweet me at @annalisebooks 🙂

Annalise x