jenny mclachlan

YALC 2016: Day 1!

This year I was lucky enough to attend YALC for the entire weekend! This weekend was made extra special by the fact that I made some friends the day before at a meet-up organised my Karen (A Simple Cup of Tea), which I would heavily recommend doing. Thanks so much Demet, Karen, Lily, Chantal and Kalie (and everyone else!) for an absolutely fantastic weekend!

I first rocked up to Olympia at 8.30am and found my newly-founded squad, then we were let loose on YALC at 9am. The first thing we found – and seriously, I was NOT expecting this – was a GEMINA arc. I wasn’t a huge fan of Illuminae but I’m hoping this will be better and will be posting my honest review (and possibly hosting a giveaway!).

The first panel I headed up was BEHIND THE MAGIC: MAGICAL SYSTEMS IN YA. The panel was led by Katherine Webber, with V E Schwab, Sally Green, Taran Matharu and Mel Salisbury and was a real highlight of the weekend – I even asked a question about how they create a magical system that is original!

After the panel, I got my copy of THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson signed – she was so lovely and the book is amazing (definitely a must-read!).

I then headed to the SHE WHO LAUGHS LAST LAUGHS THE LAUGHIEST: HUMOUR IN YA panel, headed up by Claire Hennessy and featuring Katy Birchall, Nat Luurtsema, Jenny McLachlan and Holly Smale. This was another great panel and the panelists were so funny!

Next up was a fan favourite – the A MONSTER CALLS talk with Patrick Ness, who wrote the book, and Lewis MacDougall, who plays Conor in the film adaptation. This was an interesting talk surrounding the movie. After the talk, I got my copy of A Monster Calls signed by Patrick and Lewis which was a nice touch.

Now for the highlight of the day – the Fantasy London panel chaired by Katherine Webber, and featuring V E Scwab, Ben Aaronovitch and Samantha Shannon. Learning about their interpretations of fantasy London was so interesting! An absolute highlight of the week. After the talk, I got my copies of A Darker Shade of Magic and This Savage Song signed by V E Schwab who was SO nice and hung around YALC all weekend.

This is the AMAZING book wall which made a triumphant return!

Day 1 haul included a beautiful copy of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (£10 from the Harper Voyager stand!)

The NEW Mel Salisbury short story The King of Rats was available on the Scholastic stand – I’ll be waiting to read this one but very glad I have it!

Here is a picture of the gang in front of the book wall!

Day 1 of YALC was so amazing – next up will be Day 2!

Thanks for reading – how did you enjoy the first day of YALC?

annalsie

YALC Reading List Part 8!

I’m back! June was a really busy month for me, with the end of university and having to pack and move – but it’s not less than a month to go until YALC and so I’m here to complete the reading list!

You can catch up or re-read the first seven parts here – one, two, three, four, five, six and seven!

Let’s get back into it…

57. Nat Luurtsema

Book to read: Girl Out Of Water

I’ve seen a lot of this book around lately on the Twittersphere, and it looks like a great read for fans of Rae Earl, Holly Smale and Jenny McLachlan (think My Mad Fat Diary, Geek Girl, Flirty Dancing…). When Lou Brown’s best friend swims though to the Olympic time trials, she had to adapt to a new life post-swim without her best friend… and a chance encounter with three boys could change her life forever. This one has some really great reviews, so if you’re looking for something to read that’s fun and summery, give this one a go.

58. Sarra Manning

Book to read: London Belongs To Us

I’m a big fan of Sarra, and have loved some of her adult novels – I recently read and reviewed her most recent young adult novel, London Belong To Us, here. It’s a really fun summer read and a beautiful ode to London, brimming with diverse and realistic characters. It’s such a quick read too, so perfect to pick up before YALC.

59. Taran Matharu

Book to read: The Novice/The Inquisition

I was really impressed with Taran last year at YALC, where he appeared on the panel for young authors. His first book, the Novice, found fame on Wattpad, and was published last year, with the sequel, The Inqusition, was published in May this year. The Summoner series revolves around an apprentice blacksmith who learns he can summon demons, and is put through gruelling training to fight in the war against orcs. The third book in the trilogy is yet to be released.

60. Julie Mayhew

Book to read: The Big Lie

Julie’s debut novel Red Ink was nominated for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2014 Branford Boase Award. Her most recent novel, The Big Lie, is set in Nazi England and is a coming-of-age novel. Jessika, a future world champion ice skater and all round good girl, is threatened by the beliefs her best friend, Clementine, who is outspoken and radical. The Big Lie sounds really interesting, tackling the issues of sexuality, belief and loyalty.

61. Anna McKerrow

Book to read: Crow Moon

I attended a workshop run by Anna at last year’s YALC, but haven’t picked up any of her work. Crow Moon follows a boy, Danny, who finds himself suddenly powerful and in love with a powerful sorceress, Saba. The second book, Red Witch, came out earlier this year and follows Melz, who runs away from the Greenworld and finds that she is special, desired. Red Witch picks up where Crow Moon left off, but follows a different protagonist.

62. Jenny McLachlan

Book to read: Flirty Dancing

I read the first book in this quadrilogy this year – review here – and really enjoyed it. Each book focuses on one of a former group of friends, and the first book focuses on Bea, who enters a talent competition dancing with the school hottie, Ollie, who happens to be her ex-friend Pearl’s boyfriend (Pearl also has her own book!). These books are so fun, and would again be a quick read to pick up before YALC.

meredith-miller

63. Meredith Miller

Book to read: Little Wrecks

This one isn’t out quite just yet – it’ll be out in Summer 2017! (I guess there’s a small chance of ARCs?) No cover just yet but this one sounds very promising! The novel tells the story of three teenage girls living on Long Island in 1979, and explores themes of sexual violence and mental health.

64. Patrick Ness

Book to read: A Monster Calls

Admittedly, I haven’t read any Patrick Ness – I’ve looked into buying some of his work but nothing has screamed out at me (probably a good thing looking at the state of my TBR). A lot of people are big fans though, and he has won every major Children’s book prize, including the Carnegie medal – twice. He’ll be talking about the film adaptation of his book A Monster Calls (of which he also wrote the screenplay), which is about a monster that turns up at Conor’s doorstep – it’s just not the monster he expected from his nightmares. If and when I pick up a book by Patrick Ness, it’ll probably be this one.

That’s it for this week’s installment – I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’ll be back next Sunday with more recommendations for this year’s YALC!

Annalise xxx

Review: Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan

Flirty Dancing
Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flirty Dancing is a quick, fun read – made even more tempting by the fact that it was Apple’s (Free) book of the week on iBooks when I read it 😉

Bea Hogg is the shy schoolgirl, still dealing with the fallout of a friendship group explosion. When the dance competition Starwars comes to town, her best friend joins Pearl’s dance troupe (Pearl being her ex-best friend turned enemy). Bea’s nan suggests she learn to jive – with the school hottie, Ollie Matthews – who just so happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend.

Similar to Holly Bourne’s Normal series spends one book each focusing on one girl, Flirty Dancing is one of a quadrilogy – the other books focus on Kat, Betty and Pearl (“The Ladybirds”) who used to be friends but grew apart – I love these types of series and this is a really cool concept.

The characters were really well rounded and interesting – I loved Lulu (Bea’s dance teacher and Ollie’s sister), Nan and Emma (Bea’s little sister).

Overall, a fun read that doesn’t take itself too seriously – with a new, invigorating voice. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

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