Thursday, November 03, 2011

Gritty teen/YA fiction in the UK by Savita Kalhan

A huge thank you to Savita Kalhan for this wonderful guest post about some gritty teen books from British authors.

Savita Kalhan is the author of The Long Weekend, a brilliant but scary thriller about two boys who are
abducted and taken to an remote house.

To find out more about Savita Kalhan or The Long Weekend, please do visit the following websites:

Savita Kalhan ... Savita on Twitter ... Savita on Facebook ... The Edge

There are lots of great British writers in this field, some of them writing contemporary fiction and others who write fantasy, dystopian, science fiction, dark romance etc, so I know I’m not going to be able to mention all of them here.

I’m part of a group of authors called The Edge, and we all write edgy teen/YA fiction, but we are all quite different in the genre and style we write in. You can find out more about us right here on Fluttering Butterflies, or by following the link.

I’m going to take a look at a few writers who I think have changed the face of gritty teen/young adult fiction over the last decade.

Melvin Burgess - Junk

When I first read Junk I wondered who Melvin Burgess’ editor was because the book was so highly controversial. Parts of the book are actually pretty shocking. It broke all the boundaries with what teen/YA writers could write and how far they can go! I was very lucky to meet his editor because she read my book The Long Weekend, and made me an offer!

Bali Rai – Killing Honour

Bali Rai was one of the first British Asian writers I came across. He’s been very popular and very successful in writing about the experience of young British Asians searching for a way between their own more rigid culture and that of the UK. I’ve just finished Killing Honour, which I really couldn’t put down. It’s very much a YA read.

Malorie Blackman – Boys Don’t Cry

My son introduced me to Malorie Blackman – he read Pig-Heart Boy when he was very young and loved it. I’ve just finished Boys Don’t Cry, and again Malorie keeps the story real and original by exploring teenage pregnancy from the perspective of the baby’s father, a teenage boy. The inclusion of a gay character adds another dimension to the book, particularly with the recent debate in the States about agents and publishers asking writers to straighten their gay characters.

Some of the books I’m looking forward to reading are:

Alan Gibbons – An Act of Love

Annabel Pitcher – My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

Dave Cousins – Fifteen Days Without a Head

Phil Earle –Being Billy

Meg Rosoff – There is no Dog

And other books by British authors that I would recommend

The Opposite of Amber – Gillian Philip

Hidden – Miriam Halahmy

When I was Joe – Keren David

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

And I’m not sure if I’m allowed to do this, but my book, The Long Weekend, is pretty hard-hitting too! Just watch the trailer and see...

I’m looking forward to reading what your favourites are, so please leave a comment.

Thank you so much for that Savita, you've listed some of my favourites and I look forward to reading the books you've mentioned that I hadn't heard of until now!


  1. Great post, so many of these books are already on my wishlist and I shall be adding the others I'm sure. The couple that I have read I've loved, it's so good having such a great range of gritty UK YA.

  2. I love gritty books! I will have to read many of these recommendations.

  3. I have read quite a few of them, so feeling really good. Patrick Ness just makes me cry and Annabel Pitcher has created a fantastic first novel that really hits you in the stomach.

  4. Great post, youve pointed out some great sounding books that Ive not even heard of so I'll be on the look out for them now!

  5. Fab post, I loved Boys Don't Cry too!

  6. Thank you so much for writing this post for me Savita! You've listed so many of my favourites. I love Boys Don't Cry and Being Billy and When I Was Joe and .. oh, so many. I really think that the grittier side of contemporary is my favourite.

    I'm going to pick up Killing Honour after this.

  7. Thanks for the great comments, and big thanks to Clover for inviting me to guest on her awesome blog! Check out the Edge Authors blog for more contemporary and gritty YA fiction.

  8. Junk was one of the first YA novels I ever read and it's stayed with me since. It's stunning. Great post, Savita!


HI! Thank you for leaving a comment, you've just become my new best friend :)