YA Book Prize 2018 shortlist

YA Book Prize 2018 shortlist

I made my predictions for the YA Book Prize shortlist back in January, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for the official announcement ever since. I’m proud of myself for guessing four of the titles correctly (five if you count A Change Is Gonna Come, which has received the YA Book Prize Special Achievement award) and getting another author right. Turns out my YA knowledge is pretty great!

Without further ado, here are the ten books shortlisted for the YA Book Prize, and my thoughts on each of them so far…

After the Fire by Will HillAfter The Fire by Will Hill

No one is surprised that After The Fire is on the YA Book Prize shortlist. I’ve heard so many amazing things about it since was released last June, and I’m still mad at myself for not picking it up sooner. Out of all of the books on the YA Book Prize that I haven’t read yet, my expectations for this book are the highest of all.

Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence

Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence

After winning the YA Book Prize with Orangeboy in 2017, it wouldn’t have been right for Patrice Lawrence’s second novel to not appear on the shortlist. Although I own a copy of Indigo Donut I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m hoping that I’m going to enjoy it more than Orangeboy, which I just couldn’t connect with.

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

I read It Only Happens in the Movies just before Christmas and gave it four stars, but it was very close to being a five star read. It’s only the second of Holly Bourne’s novels that I’ve read (although I want to read every book she’s released!) and out of all of the books on the shortlist that I’ve read so far, this would be my winner.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

I should have known La Belle Sauvage was going to appear on the shortlist. Everyone raved about Philip Pullman’s return to the world of the His Dark Materials series, but I couldn’t really get excited about it because I still haven’t read the original trilogy yet. I’m going to have to pull my finger out and get all four books read before the YA Book Prize announcement at the start of May… It’s going to be quite a challenge, but hopefully I’ll succeed!

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

I knew Sarah Crossan was going to appear on the YA Book Prize shortlist, but I was expecting it to be for We Come Apart (her collaboration with Brian Conaghan). I’m thankful that Moonrise is appearing instead, because I’ve already read it, but I also wasn’t blown away by it… It just scraped four stars, which is why It Only Happens in the Movies is currently beating it to my first place position.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

I should have read The One Memory of Flora Banks by now, but the hype surrounding it was just too intimidating so I put it off and put it off. I’ve also neglected to read Emily Barr’s second novel, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black… Hopefully I’ll love Barr’s debut novel so much that I’ll get both of these read. I’m expecting very good things – hopefully my expectations won’t be too high to match.

Release by Patrick Ness

Release by Patrick Ness

Release was an extremely conflicting read for me. While I loved Adam’s story, I thought that the magical realism aspects were completely unnecessary and took away from what could have been a remarkably poignant coming-of-age story. I wouldn’t be surprised if Release won the YA Book Prize, because Patrick Ness is deserving of the award, but it’s definitely not my winner.

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett

S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett

I saw quite a lot about S.T.A.G.S at YALC, so when it came out I picked up a copy which I still haven’t had time to read. I don’t know too much about this novel, apart from it’s a YA book that seems to have a lot of murder in it – I love YA and crime, so I’m hoping that the two elements will be combined into a spine-chilling story.

Straight Outta Crongton by Alex Wheatle

Straight Outta Crongton by Alex Wheatle

Although I loved Crongton KnightsStraight Outta Crongton was another book that I found conflicting. It doesn’t help that I read it during my move to university, when my emotions were extremely up in the air… I couldn’t really focus on it, and I didn’t find the story as interesting as either of the previous Crongton novels. If I can find the time I will reread this book, but as it stands I don’t think it’s a worthy winner.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

I’m SO HAPPY that Things a Bright Girl Can Do is on the shortlist, because I’ve heard that it’s a brilliant YA novel that draws attention to feminism and the suffragettes – both things I absolutely adore! I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but this is the book on the shortlist that I’m most looking forward to discovering.


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.


What are your thoughts about the YA Book Prize shortlist? Do you have any early favourites, or are you looking forward to discovering all of the books for the first time?