3 on the 3rd – British YA

I love YA fiction. I made it a resolution a couple of years ago to read more contemporary books aimed at teenagers. I started with the Carnegie longlist – over 100 books aimed at middle grade and teens. The variety of books on the list is remarkable and gives a good snapshot into what’s being published – there were lots of amazing books that I simply would never have been exposed to since.

What started as a resolution to help me recommend books to students, has turned into a real passion and added more diversity, both in terms of subjects and writers, to my reading.

For this month’s 3 on the 3rd (which I’m still writing in the 4th! – the weird post-Christmas/pre-back to work limbo has got the better if me!) I’ve picked 3 of my favourite female British YA books from 2019 to share. All three have absolutely gorgeous covers and feature teenage girls as their protagonist.

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

By Holly Jackson

Published by Electric Monkey 2019

I was lucky enough to meet Holly Jackson at YALC in 2018 and receive a signed copy of the promo chapter. This is her debut novel and it’s a cracker!

I loved the murder board style cover and the premise for the novel.

Set in a small town in Hertfordshire, protagonist Pip begins to investigate a local murder and its press coverage for a school project. School girl, Andie Bell goes missing and just days later her boyfriend, Sal Singh commits suicide. The police and the town accept that the murder is solved.

But what if they are wrong?

Pippa is smart, funny sensitive and what I really loved – completely relatable. She works hard, is ambitious, has friends and a loving and supportive family.

The story is clever and thrilling. There’s lots to keep you guessing.

There’s a sequel out in 2020 that I will definitely be pre-ordering.

Solve the case with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder yourself from:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here

The Places I’ve Cried in Public

By Holly Bourne

Published by Usbourne Publishing 2019

This book was an absolute 5 star read for me last year. Holly Bourne’s books also approach mental health and relationships in a sensitive way and this book is no exception.

16 year Amelie has broken up with her boyfriend, seemingly perfect Reece, and reflects on their relationship revisiting all of the places he made her cry. The reader sees the warnings along the way, and as Amelie ignores the signs you desperately want her to realise what is happening.

This book deals with very sensitive material in a realistic way, and shows young women that not all abuse is physical. You are absolutely rooting for Amelie from page 1.

I think this will be an important book for a lot of young women with a strong message about respect and empowerment in relationships.

This may be a YA book, but I think the subject and the compassionate way it is dealt with will ensure a much wider audience.

You can pick up a copy of The Places I’ve Cried in Public from:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here

Under a Dancing Star

By Laura Wood

Published by Scholastic 2019

My third choice is completely different – instead of contemporary teenagers, Under a Dancing Star is set in the early 1930s.

Loosely based on Much Ado About Nothing, Bea has disappointing marriage prospects and her interest in nature and science does not conform with her parents expectations for lady-like behaviour. She is sent off to stay with surprisingly bohemian her uncle and cousin Hero in Italy where she meets handsome but cocky artist Ben and the sparks soon begin to fly.

This is a romantic and beautifully written book. Bea is witty and intelligent and absolutely thrives in Italy.

This was part of the July I Love UK YA Book Box. I took it on holiday and read it on the beach and it was the perfect summer read.

Fall in love with Under a Dancing Star from:

Waterstones: click here

Amazon.co.uk: click here