Must-Haves for YALC

L.D Lapinski

YALC (or, The Young Adult Literature Convention, if we’re being Proper), is happening this weekend. And our shoulders are already aching with joy at the thought of diving head-first into a pile of steaming-hot literature. I’ve picked out the books causing the biggest ripples in the YALC pond – now you just have to work out which one to read first.

Given an early-release for YALC, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is James’ third novel, and in my opinion, her best yet. This is a stunning space thriller set aboard a ship piloted by one sole survivor – Commander Romy Silvers, whose only contact with human life is with her therapist back on Earth, the fanfiction she reads and writes... and J. The boy on the other ship, heading straight towards Romy.

This is the sort of book you can spoil with half a sentence, but with some early readers already calling this their book of 2017, make sure you’re in line for a copy.

Show Stopper
By Hayley Barker

A timely commentary on immigration, Barker’s Show Stopper isn’t just a pretty cover (though it is gorgeous). An original dystopia, where children of the poor are forced to perform in deadly circus acts, and exist only as entertainment for the rich in their overly-structured lives. Ben and Hoshiko’s forbidden love is set against a wonderful, engaging backdrop, where disaster is entertainment.

With a cast of best-selling and new writers, A Change is Gonna Come is the must-read anthology of the year. Writers of colour have their work showcased in this beautifully put-together book, and the work of the new writers holds up wonderfully against the established authors. Look out for Aisha Bushby’s Marionette Girl – one of the many treats.

Another anthology, and one that you can get signed more than once at YALC, as two of the authors (Samantha Shannon and Victoria Schwab) will be attending. With thirteen bestselling and critically-acclaimed authors teaming up with thirteen booktubers, these fairy-tale re-imaginings are dark, and entirely from the villains’ point of view.

Freshers
By Tom Ellen, Lucy Ivison

Another comedy from this hilarious writer-duo, Freshers is a fantastic take on the first year at Uni, with all the parties, new friends, and social media shenanigans you’d expect. Phoebe plans to completely re-invent herself at uni, so long-term crush Luke will see her as the perfect potential girlfriend she is… as soon as he gets over his ex, that is.

Spellbook of the Lost and Found
By Moira Fowley-Doyle

So magical it might be a real spell-book, this book is beautifully written, and a real treat for anyone who enjoys really well-crafted writing. The story also drags you in – the teenagers feel like old friends, and from the first line, you’re invested wholly. That night, everyone lost something… is such a perfect beginning. The story comes in a tangled web of memory and emotion, and makes for perfect rainy-afternoon reading. Bewitching.

A fantastic take on the ‘cult’ trope, this book has one of the best unreliable narrators I’ve ever come across. Moonbeam is mature, and articulate, but hiding facts even from herself as she is questioned about the events that led up to a tragedy in the Texan desert. Hill’s storytelling makes this chunky book a fast read – you will be clamouring to know Moonbeam’s story, and find out how many lies she has been telling, and how much truth she has been told herself. A gripping read. 

Ink
By Alice Broadway

You’ll struggle to find a better concept than Alice Broadway’s Ink. Imagine if every one of your actions resulted in a tattoo, so you remembered it, and showed it to everyone, forever. And then, imagine if a tattoo that marked you as an enemy had to be hidden. When Leora’s father dies, she discovers his ink has been edited – one of his marks is missing. And she starts to wonder if he was the man she thought he was at all.