The other night, I attended the YA Extravaganza at Waterstones Piccadilly. Hosted by Katherine Webber, the event was a panel of five YA authors promoting their recent releases. Featured were Juno Dawson, Alice Oseman, Lucy Christopher, Simon James Green, and David Levithan. The panel was a really interesting insight into what went into these new books, what inspired the authors, and what research they did before portraying particular characters. After the panel, the audience were able to ask questions and one particular one caught my interest.
“What is the most inspirational YA book you’ve read recently?”
This was a fantastic question, and the answers were just as amazing! I wanted to create a little post about these brilliant author recommends and share with you the titles they want everyone to read! Huge thanks to the audience member who asked the question – it was a brilliant one!
Juno Dawson – Slay by Kim Curran
Juno spoke of her joy at this book being published, and that it was a struggle for the author to get published due to her first publishing house going bankrupt. Fortunately, Usborne have enabled this amazing-sounding book to be brought into the world. Described as “One Direction meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, I’ve been excited for Slay for quite a while. It’s one that should definitely be on everyone’s reading lists!
Alice Oseman – Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Alice spoke of this duology fondly, and it was nice to hear about a book where the character is gay buy doesn’t want that to define him. Openly Straight follows the story of Rafe, who after transferring schools decides to keep his sexuality a secret so as not to become The Gay Guy. When he begins to fall in love with Ben, he starts to struggle. This sounds like such a lovely story, and I can’t wait to read it.
Lucy Christopher – Kaleidoscope Song by Fox Benwell
This book hadn’t been on my radar until Lucy mentioned it as being such a courageous and brave book, and after hearing her describe it my decision to read it was instantly made. Set in South Africa, Kaleidoscope Song stars Neo, a fifteen year old girl with a passion for music and who longs to be on the radio. When a local bar broadcasts one of the radio stations live, Neo sneaks in and not only falls in love with the music, but another girl called Tale. Neo knows that she’s meant to follow the path of finding a nice boy, settling down, and living a quiet life. But she can’t stop thinking about Tale.
I know it’s going to be a tough read – some of the things included in the book seem to be shocking from what Lucy mentioned – but it looks to be an in important read.
Simon James Green – Running With Lions by Julian Winters
Nothing could hide Simon’s excitement for this book! Running With Lions sounds like such good fun – where can you go wrong with footballers actually being supportive of LGBT+ members of the team? There is so much hatred in real football, so this book sounds wonderfully positive. Sebastian, the main character and goalie for the Lions, should be excited for his senior year. But instead he’s dreading it – estranged childhood friend Emir Shah arrives at summer training camp which throws a spanner in the works. Sebastian is desperate to reconnect with him, but will sharing time on the pitch bloom something more?
David Levithan – We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
I’ve heard of We Are Okay before, but have never had a chance to read it. It definitely sounds like an intriguing book – and look at that cover!
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life, the one she left behind. Nobody knows the truth about why she left, and what happened in those final weeks – not even best friend Mabel. Even when she’s so far away from it, the life she tried to outrun is still pulling her back. But now she’s going to be faced with it. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything she left behind…
These all sound like truly amazing reads!! I’ve added them all to my Goodreads TBR list (which just gets bigger by the day) and can’t wait to get my hands on them. Which of these recommended books appeals to you the most? Let me know in the comments below!