YA Book Prize 2018 predictions
For the past two years, I’ve spent March, April and May reading every book on the YA Book Prize shortlist. With just over a month to go until the shortlist should be announced, I’ve been thinking hard about which books I’m expecting to find on the list. After much deliberation, I’ve managed to narrow it down to these ten titles.
I’m not sure if A Change Is Gonna Come is eligible for the YA Book Prize, because it’s an anthology rather than a book by a single author. However, it deserves to be shortlisted more than most of the other books on this list. Giving a voice to the underrepresented, A Change Is Gonna Come features both established and brand new BAME writers contributing prose and poetry on a variety of important issues.
After the Fire by Will Hill
I haven’t read After The Fire yet, but so many people have said that it’s amazing – I couldn’t resist putting it on this list. Zoe from No Safer Place wrote a particularly powerful piece about how the book helped her conquer a reading slump, and although I wasn’t that interested in it before, I’m now extremely excited to give it a go.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Sara Barnard’s debut novel, Beautiful Broken Things, was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize, and her second book definitely deserves to join it. Telling the story of a deaf boy and a mute girl, A Quiet Kind of Thunder explores the true meaning of communication. Bonus points for including illustrations of hands performing the sign language for the number at the start of each chapter: what a great way to encourage people to start learning!
Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence
Patrice Lawrence won last year’s YA Book Prize, so it would be rude not to put her second novel on the shortlist! I have yet to read Indigo Donut, but if it’s anything like Orangeboy I’m going to have to make sure to keep a box of tissues on standby.
It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne
It Only Happens in the Movies takes a hard look at the film industry and romance films in particular, dissecting why and how they raise their audience’s expectations to such a ridiculously high level. Featuring amazing pop culture references and a three-dimensional family unit with a parent who actually has a personality, Holly Bourne’s latest book might be her best yet. It should definitely be on the shortlist.
Margot & Me by Juno Dawson
I was one of the minority who didn’t enjoy Margot & Me, but I had to feature it in this list anyway. Jumping across the generations, Margot & Me tells the stories of both Fliss and her grandmother, Margot. It’s quite similar to How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss (which was shortlisted last year), but one of the positive aspects of the YA Book Prize is that most of the nominees appeal to readers of all ages, and this book certainly does that.
Release by Patrick Ness
Release verges on literary fiction, well-written and undeniably powerful, but at times it is extremely bloody confusing. Telling two stories in one, Patrick Ness jumps between a tale of magical realism and an average day in the life of a regular teenage boy. It’s similar to The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Ness, which was also shortlisted for the YA Book Prize, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this one on the list.
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
I have yet to read The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, and I don’t even really know that much about it, but it was one of the most hyped releases of 2017. Copies went on sale early at YALC, and they sold out within an hour! Lauren James has yet to appear on a YA Book Prize shortlist, but she’s quickly becoming one of the most popular names in UKYA. It would be great to see her work being officially appreciated.
We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
Sarah Crossan won the YA Book Prize in 2016, the same year that Brian Conaghan won the Costa Children’s Book Award. Two award winners teaming up? It’s a no-brainer to predict that We Come Apart will appear on the YA Book Prize shortlist. I haven’t read it yet, but I know it’s a book about immigration told through verse, and that sounds like an extremely relevant topic to cover.
Wing Jones by Katharine Webber
If Wing Jones isn’t on the shortlist, I’m going to riot. This was one of the best debut novels of last year, and I absolutely adored every page of it. It was also one of the only books I read in one sitting, and that’s always a good indicator for a YA Book Prize nomination – the titles need to be ones that grip you and refuse to let you go, with realistic characters that you can’t help but relate to. Wing Jones ticks all of those boxes.
I’d also like to give honourable mentions to The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas and Countless by Karen Gregory. I’m not sure whether either of those titles will be shortlisted, but they’re novels that I would love to see getting this level of recognition.
If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click their cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.
Now it’s your turn! Leave your predictions for the YA Book Prize in the comments down below, and we’ll wait to see who gets the closest. I’m probably going to be wrong about most, if not all, of these, so I’m looking forward to being embarrassed when I look back at this list in a few weeks time!