My Top Ten YA Books
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell
Wow, can Rainbow Rowell write! Scenes from this book will stay with my for life. I'll never forget the part when the school bullies cover Eleanor's locker with sanitary pads that they've coloured with red marker. She's so poor that she saves some of these pads for her next period. This book is tense and gritty from the get go. It never loses its hold.
Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
Probably an obvious one but I love the attraction between Bella and Edward. It starts off as as slow burner then it gets to the point where she becomes addicted to him. I mean, who wouldn't? Stephanie Meyer makes him so hot!
The Curious Adventure of the dog in the night time, Mark Haddon
One thing I love about books is that you get to climb inside other people's minds. Here, we're in the head of 15 year-old Christopher, an autistic boy. The book tricks us. We think that we're just learning about him. But really we're learning about his parents and the pressures that they have looking after him. The book is funny. It's very English too, which I love.
The Girl Who Could Fly, Victoria Forester
This is a fun, escapist read told through the hill-billy voice for Piper. My favourite part is when Piper is taken to a so-called school for exceptional children, which turns out to have a sinister agenda. She sees the experiments that they are doing on animals like a swan that is forced to swim in bleach.
The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
There's no need to go over the plot of this book. Surely everyone knows the story. One of the clever things is that the author does, is to set the stakes so high from the onset. Not only is Katniss's life in jeopardy but we realize that she might be forced to kill other children. I mean, who wouldn't want to keep reading?
The Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman
An old one but a good one. Be warned, the first 20 pages are slow. But then the book really gets going as we follow Lyra's quest to find out what's happened to the disappearing children. The character of Mrs Coulter – played by Nicole Kidman in the movie – is chilling.
The Book Thief, Markus Zusack
You have to work to read this book but it's worth it. It feels like a beautiful piece of art.
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
OMG. I think I used up ten year's worth of tears over this. I knew that a book about a girl with cancer wouldn't be a walk in the park. But I never realized that it would make me cry so much. John Green kept twisting the knife further and further into me during this incredibly compelling novel.
Holes, Louis Sacher
A classic that definitely deserves a nod. We follow the story of Stanley, who's been sent unfairly to a boy's detention centre. The centre is so awful that you can't stop reading. Plus, there's more to the camp than we first imagine. I was hooked as the mystery unravelled.
The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainai
I love the concept of this book. Two girls are kidnapped and sent to adjoining schools in a village where they groomed to become fairy tale characters. They will feature in story books that appear mysteriously in local book shops. But is the good girl so virtuous? And the bad girl so evil? Get ready for tons or twists and turns.
FOR HER SISTER
by Lara Sleath
YA Paranormal Suspense
Evernight Teen Publishing / 61,000 words
Eighteen-year-old Bresha blames herself for her younger sister's death. She knew that Arlene was gullible and fragile. Yet she still let her tone-deaf sister meet with Saul Sanderstorm, a record company mogul whose charisma is as big as his temper.
When Arlene is found floating in Camden Lock canal, the police call it suicide. But Bresha knows different. She knows that sleazy Saul is somehow to blame. And so does Arlene's ghost. Why else would she fog up mirrors and trace the letter S for Saul through the condensation on the glass? Now, Bresha has to find a way to prove that Saul's guilty.
When Bresha discovers that Saul is getting a kick out of mentally breaking singers, she wonders if this happened to Arlene. The truth has to be ugly and shocking. Because why else would Saul be prepared to do anything to conceal it?
Bresha faces a choice. Risk her life to unearth the facts. Or drop the case and be forever tormented by her sister's ghost.
Someone was screaming. She realized that it was her. She found herself on her feet. She took off down the path, her breath jagged, her shoes pounding over the gravel. Fire flashed against her legs, as the nettles stung her.
She ran a few more steps. She had to be faster than him. Surely, she was faster. He was paunchy old man. Her feet hit a boulder and she stumbled. She felt his hands on her back. Slam. He pushed her down. A burning pain shot across her cheek, as her face smashed into the gravel.
She scrambled up and ran on. He sprang on her from behind. Again, he brought her down. She twisted around. He threw himself on top of her, his weight crushing her. She reached up and tried to claw his face, but he caught her hands and pinned them down by her sides onto the path.
“You will not to do this to me,” he snarled. “You will not ruin me.”
Bresha tried to speak, but her tongue was frozen. She gazed into his eyes, hoping to reason with him on an unspoken level, human to human. She’d read somewhere that eyes were supposed to be the view point into people’s souls. Now she saw his soul. It looked like the photograph of a cancerous organ on the side of a cigarette packet, black and festering.
He brought his head toward her lips. Was he going to kiss her like he might have been trying to do that day on the couch? She turned her head away, pushing one side of her face into the grit. He’d never kiss her. She’d die before he kissed her.
She felt him bite into her neck. He was giving her a love bite, the sick pig. She screamed as he drew blood.
About the Author:
British born Lara Sleath has been writing stories - on paper and in her head - for as long as she can remember. But gave up on the idea of becoming a writer because she believed that the idea was too far-fetched. Instead she took the only slightly more sensible option of working in the music industry.
But even that proved too dull for Lara. In her mid-twenties, she set off from London with her boyfriend in a battered VW van. Their aim was to drive to India. They arrived a quarter of a year after adventures with warlords and after having seen many mind-blowing sights.
Today, the boyfriend in the beaten-up VW van is Lara's husband. She lives with him and their two children in Vancouver, Canada close to the ocean and the mountains. Lara writes every day surrounded by an army of cats. For Her Sister is her debut novel.
Giveaway: $10 Evernight Teen Gift Card