This past week, the YA Book Prize announced the 2020 shortlist for the prize. The book prize, launched in 2014, awards a YA title written by an author living in the UK or Ireland. The prize is also run by the book trad magazine, The Bookseller, in partnership with the Hay Festival.
I was disappointed to not see the titles, All the Bad Apples, The Burning and The Exact Opposite of Okay but that does not escape the fact of the amazing nominations that we have here. I can’t wait to read all of them!
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth? (Credit: Electric Monkey)
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
Fiercely told, this is a timely coming-of-age story, told in verse about the journey to self-acceptance. Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan, Poet X and Orangeboy.
A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour. (Credit: Hodder Children’s Books)
Crossfire by Malorie Blackman
Years have passed since the love between Sephy – a Cross – and Callum – a Nought – destroyed their world and changed their families and society forever.
Society appears to be very different now. For the first time ever, a Nought Prime Minister – Tobey Durbridge – is in power. Race and class don’t divide people anymore. But things are never really that easy.
Because Tobey’s just been framed for murder, and the only way to free himself is to turn to his oldest friend – Callie-Rose.
Their families divisions run deep, and when two young people are kidnapped, their lives and everything they’ve fought for are put in the firing line.
And when you’re playing a game as dangerous as this one, it won’t be long before someone gets caught in the crossfire… (Credit: Penguin Random House Children’s)
Meat Market by Juno Dawson
Jana Novak’s history sounds like a classic model cliché: tall and gangly, she’s uncomfortable with her androgynous looks until she’s unexpectedly scouted and catapulted to superstardom.
But the fashion industry is as grimy as it is glamorous. And there are unexpected predators at every turn.
Jana is an ordinary girl from a south London estate, lifted to unimaginable heights. But the further you rise, the more devastating your fall …
Honest and raw, this is a timely exposé of the dark underbelly of the fashion industry in an era of #TimesUp and #MeToo. It might just be Juno Dawson’s most important book yet. (Credit: Quercus Children’s Books)
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.
On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.
Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.
They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…(Credit: Orion Children’s Books)
Deeplightby Frances Hardinge
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea meets Frankenstein in Frances Hardinge’s latest fantasy adventure
The gods are dead. Decades ago, they turned on one another and tore each other apart. Nobody knows why. But are they really gone forever? When 15-year-old Hark finds the still-beating heart of a terrifying deity, he risks everything to keep it out of the hands of smugglers, military scientists, and a secret fanatical cult so that he can use it to save the life of his best friend, Jelt. But with the heart, Jelt gradually and eerily transforms. How long should Hark stay loyal to his friend when he’s becoming a monster—and what is Hark willing to sacrifice to save him? (Credit: Macmillan Children’s Books)
Furious Thing by Jenny Downham
Bad things happen when you’re around, Lex…
That’s what her stepfather tells her. That’s what she believes about herself.
But how can she convince herself and everyone around her that her anger doesn’t make her a monster? If only she could stop losing her temper and behave herself, her stepfather would accept her, her mom would love her like she used to, and her stepbrother would declare his crushing desire to spend the rest of his life with her. She wants these things so badly, she’s determined to swallow her anger and make her family proud.
But pushing fury down doesn’t make it disappear. Instead, it simmers below the surface, waiting to erupt. There’ll be fireworks when it does… (Credit: David Fickling Books)
The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
How far would you go to save those you love?
Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.
Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . . (Credit: Walker Books)
The Gifted, the Talented and Meby William Sutcliffe
Fifteen-year-old Sam isn’t special. He’s not a famous vlogger, he’s never gone viral, and he doesn’t want to be the Next Big Thing. What he likes most is chatting to his friends and having a bit of a kick about.
None of which was a problem until Dad got rich and Mum made the whole family move to London. Now Sam is being made to go to the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented, where every student is too busy planning Hollywood domination or starting alt-metal psychedelica crossover bands or making clothes out of bathmats to give someone as normal as him the time of day. Can Sam navigate his way through the weirdness and find a way to be himself? (Credit: Bloomsbury YA)
The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this. So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry.
Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him. (Credit: Usborne Publishing)
The YA Book Prize will be having Twitter chats, championing the books that are on the shortlist. Here is their schedule: