In 2010 I read over 25 YA novels and throughly enjoyed most of them. There are quite a few coming out next year (mainly spring/summer that I know of) and I think it’s going to be an exciting year for YA. So here are my top ten UK picks for 2011!
1. ‘I Don’t Want To Kill You’ by Dan Wells (Headline, 13th Jan 2011)
Sixteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver has always known he’s different, but not because he only has one friend (and doesn’t much like him) and not because he regularly helps out in his mother’s mortuary. He’s different because he recognizes the classic signs of an incipient serial killer in his own personality, and he’s created a rigid set of rules to follow to keep his darker nature, the one he calls Mr Monster in check. But John discovers it’s the personality traits he so fears that put him in the best position to save the people of his town from a series of horrific and disturbing killers…
2. ‘Rot & Ruin’ by Jonathan Maberry (Simon & Schuster, 3rd March 2011)
In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.
3. ‘Awakened’ by P. C. & Kristin Cast (House of Night #8) (Atom, 4th Jan 2011)
At the start of Awakened, the pulse-pounding eighth installment of the bestselling House of Night series, Zoey has returned, mostly whole, from the Otherworld to her rightful place as High Priestess at the House of Night. Her friends are just glad to have her back, but after losing her human consort, Heath, will Zoey – or her relationship with her super-hot Warrior, Stark – ever be the same? Stevie Rae is drawn even closer to Rephaim, the Raven Mocker with whom she shares a mysterious and powerful Imprint, but he is a dangerous secret that isolates her from her school, her red fledglings, and even her best friends. When the dark threat of Neferet – who is coming closer and closer to achieving her twisted goal of immortality – and Kalona returns, what will it take to keep the House of Night from being lost forever, and what will one desperate girl do to keep her heart from being irreparably broken?
4. ‘The Gathering’ by Kelley Armstrong (Dark Rising #1) (Atom, 11th April 2011)
Maya lives in a small medical-research town on Vancouver Island. How small? You can’t find it on the map. It has less than two-hundred people, and her school has only sixty-eight students—for every grade from kindergarten to twelve. Now, strange things are happening in this claustrophobic town, and Maya’s determined to get to the bottom of them. First, the captain of the swim team drowns mysteriously in the middle of a calm lake. A year later, mountain lions start appearing around Maya’s home, and they won’t go away. Her best friend, Daniel, starts getting negative vibes from certain people and things. It doesn’t help that the new bad boy in town, Rafe, has a dangerous secret—and he’s interested in one special part of Maya’s anatomy: Her paw-print birthmark.
5. ‘Chasers’ by James Phelan (Alone #1) (Atom, 2nd June 2011)
Jesse is on a school trip in New York when his subway carriage is rocked by an explosion. When he and three friends crawl out of the wreckage they discover a city in chaos. Streets are deserted. Buildings are in ruins. And the only other survivors seem infected with a virus that turns them into horrifying predators…
6. ‘Low Red Moon’ by Ivy Devlin (Bloomsbury, 7th Feb 2011)
Avery Hood is reeling from the loss of her parents–and the fact that she can’t remember what happened to them even though she was there. She’s struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn’t like any guy she’s ever met before. It turns out there’s a reason why, and Ben’s secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents… But what if that secret changes everything she knows about–and feels for–Ben?
7. ‘Nightshade’ by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade #1) (Atom, 20th Jan 2011)
Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she’ll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters’ laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything–including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?
8. ‘Rosebush’ by Michele Jaffe (Atom, 3rd March 2011)
Instead of celebrating Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey shore, Jane is in the hospital surrounded by teddy bears, trying to piece together what happened last night. One minute she was at a party, wearing fairy wings and cuddling with her boyfriend. The next, she was lying near-dead in a rosebush after a hit and run. Everyone thinks it was an accident, despite the phone threats Jane swears were real. But the truth is a thorny thing. As Jane’s boyfriend, friends, and admirers come to visit, more memories surface–not just from the party, but from deeper in her past…including the night her best friend Bonnie died. With nearly everyone in her life a suspect now, Jane must unravel the mystery before her killer attacks again. Along the way, she is forced to examine the consequences of her life choices in this compulsively readable thriller.
9. ‘Immortal Beloved’ by Cate Tiernan (Hodder & Stroughton, 6th Jan 2011)
New name, new town, new life. Nastasya has done it too often to count. And there’s no end in sight. Nothing ever really ends …when you’re immortal. But now, after centuries of feeding from the lives of the innocents around her, of living with little care for others, Nastasya is ready to turn towards the light. ‘After some of the events I’ve witnessed I felt like I was a shell with nothing alive left in me. I hadn’t been going around killing people, but people were hurt — the memories just kept trickling in like rivulets of fresh acid dripping into my brain until I wanted to scream. It was in my blood, I knew. A darkness. The darkness. I had inherited it, along with my immortality and my black eyes.’ Captivating, intense and with an incredible and original voice, EVERLASTING LIFE is a haunting story of friendship, love and secrets, tragedy and loss. Sometimes life is eternal…
10. ‘The Iron Witch’ by Karen Mahoney (The Ironbridge Chronicles #1) (Corgi, 3rd Feb 2011)
Freak. That’s what her classmates call seventeen-year-old Donna Underwood. When she was seven, a horrific fey attack killed her father and drove her mother mad. Donna’s own nearly fatal injuries from the assault were fixed by magic—the iron tattoos branding her hands and arms. The child of alchemists, Donna feels cursed by the magical heritage that destroyed her parents and any chance she had for a normal life. The only thing that keeps her sane and grounded is her relationship with her best friend, Navin Sharma. When the darkest outcasts of Faerie—the vicious wood elves—abduct Navin, Donna finally has to accept her role in the centuries old war between the humans and the fey. Assisted by Xan, a gorgeous half-fey dropout with secrets of his own, Donna races to save her friend—even if it means betraying everything her parents and the alchemist community fought to the death to protect.
So, what are your most anticipated YA reads for 2011?