Thursday, March 26, 2015

The winner of the UK YA Book Prize is...

This week the winner of the UK's first ever Young Adult (YA) Prize was announced - so we thought it was a good idea to catch up with our newly-established YA Book Group, led by our own Imogen Hargreaves, recently shortlisted for 'Young Bookseller of the Year'...

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So at the beginning of February, we started up the YA book group in the shop, with the aim to read a few of the shortlisted books on the YA book prize this year.

The winner was announced last week, so we thought it was a perfect time to talk about the book group and YA books.

So the three books we, as a book group looked at were 'Half Bad' by Sally Green, 'Say Her Name' by James Dawson and 'Ghosts of Heaven' by Marcus Sedgwick.

'Half Bad' was a wonderful book to talk about. There were only the three of us the first week, but we had a long conversation about good and evil, and the way we view them both. What is good, and is anyone actually completely 'good'? If they believe they are doing the right thing, does that make them good? Questions, really, that don't have answers, but we tried to find them anyway. (and we are all not-so-patiently waiting to read Half Wild, published this week).

'Say Her Name' was great fun as well. It creeped us all out enough that we didn't even want a water jug on the table, thinking a hand would suddenly reach out of it towards us. This was also the week we found out we are all Harry Potter fans, so I guess that's a plus as well!

Finally, we read 'Ghosts of Heaven', and I think this was the one we all thought might win. It was a brilliant book, one that had something for each of us. Divided into four parts, this book also divided us; which parts we liked, which part was the most effective, and what on earth the ending meant. Also, we all read it in different orders so each of us had a different view on it.

But none of these were the eventual winner. It was, in fact, a book I had read a week earlier. 'Only Ever Yours' is a book about a terrifying future, where girls are genetically made to be perfect and beautiful; because girls are not people. They are objects. Only Every Yours is a book I would definitely recommend to older teenagers and adults; but probably not one we will not be reading with the younger teens that are members of the book group.

So that's the past three weeks: what about the future?

Well, we still have space if you are interested in coming along and being a part of the group (Does bribery work? If anyone else wants to join, I might start buying biscuits. Because what's better to start a Saturday than books and biscuits?)

On Saturday March 28 we are taking a step away from the Book Prize and looking at a historical novel called 'Black Dove, White Raven', by Elizabeth Wein (the author of Carnegie-shortlisted 'Code Name Verity'), and on the April 18 we are looking at a fantasy book called The Young Elites by Marie Lu.

Why, I hear you cry, should I join this book group? Well, it will get you to read different things, and it might allow you to discover your next favourite author. And you get 15% off any books we read, and cheaper books is always a plus.

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