Authors' Best Teen Books of 2016
Published on: 06 December 2016 Author: Robbie Hunt
2016 has been a bumper year for Teen/YA literature, but which ones thrilled the nation? Some of our favourite authors tell you their choices.
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Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of The Astounding Broccoli Boy and Sputnik's Guide to Life On Earth
The Call by Peadar O'Guilin
The Call is dark and brutal, everything that I'm not looking for in fiction. But its power is undeniable. It channels Irish mythology into modern teenage life with an energy that recalls Alan Garner.
Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle
My book of the year is Alex Wheatle's Crongton Knights, winner of The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. This beautifully-written tale of a quest through the streets of South London is tough, tender, and humane.
SF Said, author of Varjak Paw and Phoenix
Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff
I loved being a judge for The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and I urge everyone to read all the wonderful books on the longlist! But my favourite book this year wasn't eligible, because it's a translation: Maresi, by Maria Turtschaninoff, translated by Annie Prime - a spell-binding feminist fantasy that feels very timely and yet utterly timeless.
Alex Wheatle, author of Liccle Bit and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize winning Crongton Knights
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
My favourite book of the year would have to be Patrice Lawrence's Orangeboy - pacey, rat-a-tat dialogue, great characters and captures the stresses of contemporary living for teenagers. A hell of a read.
Juno Dawson, author of All Of The Above and This Book Is Gay
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
There has been some wonderful YA from Ireland this year with The Call by Peadar O Guilin and Nothing Tastes As Good by Claire Hennessey among my favourites. Although it was released last year, The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge was not only wonderful but proved you don't need to be off the telly to sell books. Imagination and verve are all that should matter and The Lie Tree has both in abundance.
Tanya Landman, author of Carnegie winning Buffalo Soldier
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock
This book totally transported me, both geographically and emotionally. I loved the powerfully tender human stories set in the vast, bleak, beautiful landscape. A beautifully written book with immense heart.
Philip Ardagh, former BookTrust Writer in Residence and author of the Eddie Dickens series
MAX by Sarah Cohen-Scali
2016 has been a really good year for children's books, so choosing a favorite is like asking me which of my twins I prefer. (Simon, if you were wondering.) I've settled for the unsettling MAX by Sarah Cohen-Scali. Though written in German a few years back, this was published in an English translation by Walker Books this year. It is a first person narrative by Max - a product of the Nazi eugenics programme in the Second World War - first as a fetus, then a baby, then as a boy. It's a gripping, moving and highly original perspective on such a disturbing time in our history.
Bali Rai, former BookTrust Writer in Residence and author of (Un)arranged Marriage and Web of Darkness
The Trap by Alan Gibbons
My book of the year is Alan Gibbons' latest novel, The Trap; it's more teen/YA than children's, but it's great. The Trap is a timely and much-needed exploration of extremism, Islamophobia and the lives of ordinary British people touched by those issues. It's a thrilling read and a true page turner, but full of heart and hope too. Sometimes books should tackle the biggest challenges we face, and The Trap does just that. It's a cracking story.
Sita Brahmachari, former BookTrust Writer in Residence and author of Red Leaves and Artichoke Hearts
The Pomegranate Tree by Vanessa Altin
This story about a young Syrian Refugee is brave and powerful. Altin tells the story of a brutal war and its impact on children. She paints with truth and love and plants delicate seeds of hope and light in the reader.
Catherine Johnson, author of Sawbones
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
My book of the year has to be Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence. Shortlisted for the Costa Prize, this is a real wow of a YA novel set in a real and recognisable modern London with a hero who totally and utterly engages. I loved it. The writing shines.
Julia Green, author of The Wilderness War
Sweet Pizza by G.R Gemin
I love the warmth in the storytelling, the lovely clear prose, and the funny, original mix of food, opera and family history. At its heart is Joe, his Italian-Welsh family and their cafe, in a multi-cultural community in Wales. Giancarlo Gemin's novel celebrates friendship, family and bringing people together. An important and pertinent story for our troubled times.
Taran Matharu, author of The Summoner Series
Gilded Cage by Vic James
My book of the year is YA book Gilded Cage by Vic James, which has just been published on 1 December, 2016. Devious and deliciously dark with lashings of magic, mystery and mayhem, this juggernaut of a book will keep you hanging on by your fingernails until the very last page.