Blog

Patrice Lawrence's Top 5 Young Adult Reads of 2017

Posted on 17th November 2017 by Martha Greengrass
The author of the bestselling teen novels Orangeboy and Indigo Donut recommends five young adult reads she couldn't put down this year.

My joys are London, music and sci fi. I also love stories that stay with me beyond the last page, that confound stereotypes, that jolt me into a different reality and keep me there. This is just a small selection of the fabulous books that have come my way this year.

Irfan Master’s Out of Heart captures the London I recognise in a lyrical, heart-breaking story.  Adam is a withdrawn 15-year-old from an east London Muslim family.  An accomplished graffiti artist, he and his selectively mute younger sister, Farah, live with his lone mother and grandmother.  The family are traumatised by previous events including the death of Adam’s grandfather who it transpires has donated his heart. Then loner, William, the recipient of the heart turns up on the family’s doorstep.  For most of 2017, I read while travelling to work. Out of Heart made me laugh and cry on public transport. It was a trifle embarrassing. 

£6.99
Paperback
In stock online
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Donating your heart is the most precious gift of all. Adam is a teenage boy who lives with his mum and younger sister. Adam feels the weight of the world upon his shoulders. Then his grandfather dies and in doing so he donates a very precious gift - his heart.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout
 

Another disconcerting commuting read was William Sutcliffe’s We See Everything. Like his previous book, Concentr8, it is set in an alternative London. The London I was travelling through while engrossed in it, was familiar, but destroyed. London is The Strip, a city under siege, populated by the traumatised victims of sustained bomb attacks from outside. The book stacks deep beneath The British Library are home to families bombed into homelessness. The Shard lies shattered. Lex has grown up on The Strip and suspects his father belongs to an outlawed direct action group. Alan, an isolated, angry young man is a talented gamer who is selected to operate unmanned drones that spy on and ultimately bomb The Strip and the people in it. It is a clever, compulsive read that shifted my world. 

£12.99
Hardback
In stock online
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
A gripping and powerfully relevant thriller set in a reimagined London where drone surveillance is the norm. We See Everything, from internationally bestselling author William Sutcliffe, simmers with tension and emotion. Shortlisted for the Red Tentacle at the Kitschies 2017, the awards that recognise the year's most progressive, intelligent and e...
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout
 

Olivia Levez writes protagonists that you aren’t sure if you should like, but they draw you in and make you root for them. In The Circus, Willow is rich, indulged and borderline obnoxious. She is also lonely and feels abandoned by both parents. On the eve of her father’s wedding to his younger girlfriend, Willow runs away and ends up penniless in Hastings. I was born in Brighton and spent summers working in Littlehampton.  Scratch just a little below the surface of any sea side town and the murky goo beneath will soon bubble up.  Levez describes the seediness beneath the tourist façade in beautiful rich detail and ultimately you admire, and then grudgingly like, Willow. 

£7.99
Paperback
In stock online
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Like it's wonderful protagonist Willow, The Circus is colourful, funny and brave, and doesn't flinch from the realities of being a homeless teenager.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout
 

Now to the sci fi. (I couldn’t resist the little nod to Isaac Asimov in Orangeboy!) Lauren James’ heroine Romy Silver believes she is the The Loneliest Girl In The Universe. Left without friends or family, she is the commander of a space ship heading towards a new habitable planet. Suddenly, she receives a message from J, the lone commander of a ship powered by modern technology, speeding from earth towards her. As they start to exchange emails, he is everything she has ever imagined a boyfriend should be. And he only wants to help, doesn’t he? This was one of those in the bath, in bed, on the bus books.  I had to keep reading. 

£7.99
Paperback
In stock online
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
A romance set in space from the beloved author of The Next Together series.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout
 


Finally, something slightly different. Joseph Coelho’s Overheard In A Towerblock illustrated by Kate Milner.  I think publishers and bookshops are missing a trick with poetry. They seem to stock poetry collections for younger children and adult poetry from the historical to the contemporary.  Where is the poetry for young adults? Beyond the bookshops, there is a dynamic and diverse spoken word scene, young people articulating their lives and experiences  through rhythm, rhyme, lyricism. These are poems about childhood belonging, separated families and the stories we build when there are gaps we can’t know. My teenage daughter and I have read them together. 

£6.99
Paperback
In stock online
Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Award-winning poet Joseph Coelho's astonishing new collection is a powerful and moving poetic narrative about growing up in the city.
  • This item has been added to your basket
View basket Checkout

I am so excited thinking about what 2018 may bring.

Comments

There are currently no comments.