katy birchall

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 4!

Welcome back to part 4 of the YALC reading list!

Here are parts one, two and three, for those catching up or rereading!

The YALC Reading List is posted every Sunday evening.

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28. Alex Wheatle

Book to read: Brixton Rock

Alex Wheatle, aka the Brixton Bard, grew up in Brixton, where most of his books are set. His debut novel, Brixton Rock, is about a mixed race teen in 1980s Brixton, who has grown up in a children’s home for most of his life – and when he’s reunited with his mother, he falls for his half-sister, Juliet. This sounds like a really gripping story, and I’d like to expand the diversity of my YA reads, so this looks like one I’ll be picking up. Wheatle’s latest novel, Crongton Knights, is out this year.

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29. Alex Scarrow

Book to read: Time Riders / Re-Made

Time Riders won a RedHouse award, a Catalyst award and Hampshire Book aware, as well as being shortlisted for Galaxy Children’s Book of the Year. The series is now on its ninth book, following three teens who are recruited by ‘The Agency’ moments before their deaths, to make sure key moment in history stay constant. Scarrow’s latest book, REMADE follows a brother and sister team as a deadly virus spreads across the world, turning people to liquid before their eyes.

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30. Sara Barnard

Book to read: Beautiful Broken Things

Beautiful Broken Things has been one of my favourite books this year (review here) – it deals with toxic friendships and mental illness, and has been a refreshing and original addition to the UK YA literature scene. I’d definitely recommend picking this one up before YALC (especially if you’re bored of the same old YA romance), and Sara has just announced her next novel, which will be called A Quiet Kind of Thunder (and which I will be eagerly awaiting!).

31. Sophia Bennett

Book to read: Love Song

Threads, Sophia’s first book, is a book I was aware of but just never got round to reading. Love Song has been receiving a lot of high praise on Twitter recently, so perhaps I will have to pick some of Sophia’s work up. Love Song was release in April, and is the story of Nina, who has just become the assistant to the fiancee of the lead singer of the hottest band in the world. This one has really good reviews, so it’s probably not long until I cave and buy it.

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32. Katy Birchall

Book to read: The It Girl series

The first It Girl book I read as it was included in Chelley Toy’s introduction to book blogger -ing gift bag at YALC, and I really enjoyed it – review here. These are really fun books about a girl whose father happens to start dating one of the most famous actresses ever. Highly recommended for fans of the Georgia Nicholson series, the second book, Team Awkward, was released in the UK in January.

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33. Nicole Burstein

Book to read: Other Girl

Nicole’s fist novel, Other Girl, was released in April last year and is a bout a pair of best friends, one of whom has super powers. This sounds like such a great concept, and the reviews for this book have been outstanding, so it’s one for my to-buy list. Nicole’s next novel, Wonder Boy, is set in the Othergirl universe and is out Summer 2016.

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34. Katy Cannon

Book to read: Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines

As well as being the author of the Pooch Parlour series, Katy has also written two  YA novels – Love, Lies and Lemon Pies and Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines. Both have excellent reviews, but it’s the latter which has really caught my eye – focusing on Grace, a girl who is stuck making costumes for the school play instead of playing the starring role.

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35. Honor and Perdita Cargill

Book to read: Waiting for Callback

Another book which has benefited from Twitter hype has been Waiting For Callback, written by the mother-daughter writing duo, Honor and Perdita (how cool is that?). Billed as Geek Girl meets Fame meets New Girl (and who doesn’t like all three?), Waiting For Callback is the story of Elektra, your average girl-next-door trying to make it in the world of acting whilst also juggling family, friends and crushes.

So those are our additions to the YALC Reading List this week – come back next Sunday for more great YA reads!

Which books have you read? Which books are you planning to read? Tweet me at @annalisebooks or comment below!

Annalise x

Review: The It Girl by Katy Birchall

The It-Girl
The It-Girl by Katy Birchall

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First I’d like to thank @Chelleytoy and @EMTeenFiction for the book – I received this book during a talk at YALC on Book Blogging. Thank you so much!

The It Girl is probably not a book I would have bought myself, simply because it’s been a while since I was an awkward 14 year old (I am now an awkward 21 year old, thank you very much). However, once I got into it, this book was really enjoyable, and I related a lot to Anna. The characters are likeable, with flaws (and yes, this is a good thing – they became more real) and very relatable.

Anna is a great character, and the perfect teenager who is trying to find her way, making mistakes along the way – which makes for great reading. I think everyone can probably see some part of themselves in Anna. Her relationships with the other characters are one of the highlights of the book, and I particularly enjoyed the family dynamic – dealing with divorced parents and a new stepfamily. I felt that Anna reacted how I would react, and as such, she is a realistic character with believable actions.

The format of the book is mainly regular chapters, with emails dotted throughout the book to and from various characters. This book was easy to read, and the format broke up the book and made it a little more fun

Overall, a really enjoyable read, whether you’re looking for something aimed at the younger YA market because you’re a younger reader, or you want a fun, light read that’ll make you feel nostalgic and cringe a little at your younger self.
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