There are so many amazing authors attending YALC, I almost can't even believe it. And when I sat down to write this list of recommendations it hit me that this post could potentially be thousands of words long. Because I could go on forever about how much I love the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness or how much I adore Meg Rosoff or how much I respect Malorie Blackman as an author and as a person.
I've read and enjoyed so many of the books from these authors but I decided (for this post, more coming soon!) to just talk to generally about five of my favourite authors from the list. All five of these authors have written books in the past year that have made it onto my very, very favourites list at the end of the year I read them.
I love CJ Skuse. She's the author of three YA books, Pretty Bad Things, Rockoholic and Dead Romantic. Rockoholic was the first book of hers that I read and it topped my list of books I read that year. I love CJ's humour and crazy-fun story lines. Rockoholic follows a girl who has kidnapped her favourite rock star (with a Curly Wurly) and hides him in her garage. Dead Romantic tells the story of two girls who try to create the perfect boyfriend out of dead body parts. Both books have this wonderful mixture of oddball humour and fantastic characters and really emotional relationships. It's really fantastic stuff and if you haven't read a book by CJ Skuse, you really should.
And if you're going to YALC, you can stop by her workshop on the Saturday!
11.30-12.15 C J Skuse: Planning and writing a kick-ass YA novel: useful tips and tricks (Saturday)
The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale is one of my favourite ever books. Something about this story, about Evie's story really grabbed me right from the first page. I think it was amazing how Alexia Casale chose to tell this story, without relying on the grisly details of Evie's past to garner sympathy or emotion. Instead we as the readers are able to connect with Evie based on her own development throughout this story with the dragon, with the relationships she has with her adoptive family and the conclusions she comes to about vengeance and moving on. It's a beautiful story, one I really recommend!
And if you're attending YALC, you can stop by Alexia's workshop that's taking place on the Sunday...
13.15-14.15 Alexia Casale: Finding your writing voice (Sunday)
I'm such a huge fan of Cat Clarke's! I've only shown three of her books in the photo above, but she's written 5 wonderful YA novels (not shown: Falling, and A Kiss in the Dark) and each book is so wonderfully written that I find myself experiencing such strong emotions that it almost hurts. I love the characters and the relationships in her books but I do love the emotion in these books the most. Cat Clarke writes really well about things like guilt and secrecy and a need for vengeance. Undone is still a book I think back on often and every time I do I still remember that feeling of finishing this story that first time. That will stay with me for a very, very long time.
Cat Clarke will be at YALC on the Saturday alongside other fantastic YA authors, Non Pratt and Beth Reekles for a panel event about sex in YA. Looks fab!
12.30-13.15 I'm too sexy for this book!
With Cat Clarke, Non Pratt and Beth Reekles, chaired by James Dawson (Saturday)
I will be writing later on in the week more specifically about Phil Earle's most recent book, The Bubble-Wrap Boy, but I absolutely love all four of his books. I really highly recommend them all though Being Billy, his debut book, is my favourite. For me, Being Billy is so gut-wrenching and beautiful at the same time and I love that each of his books, while covering hard topics, also deals with a lot of hope. Being Billy and Saving Daisy are written about characters in care that overlap between these books and Heroic is the story of two brothers fighting very different battles. All of his books are incredible!
And if you'd like to see Phil Earle at YALC, he's doing a panel on the Saturday...
11.30-12.15 How to get published
With Phil Earle and Sally Green, chaired by Ben Horslen (Penguin Books) (Saturday)
Ah, Tanya Byrne! She's definitely one of my favourite authors (And I'd like to see videos like this about all of my favourite authors.) Heart-Shaped Bruise was such a surprise for me. I read it and I was absolutely amazed by all of the emotion that I felt when reading this book. Emily's story isn't an easy one to read but I thought it was fantastic. Powerful and thought-provoking and just a story that burrowed its way very quickly into my heart. I loved it. And Follow Me Down was a wonderful second book. Mysterious and dark. I loved trying to unravel this complicated story about friendship and obsession.
I think this panel on Sunday with Tanya, and the other authors (especially Sarra Manning who really should have been on this list too!) sounds incredible.
14.30-15.15 Sisters doing it for themselves
With Tanya Byrne, Isobel Harrop, Julie Mayhew and Holly Smale, chaired by Sarra Manning (Sunday)
Who are you most looking forward to seeing at YALC?