The Essential YALC Guide 2019

[Last updated: 11.30am Thursday 25th July]

Here you can find out about early copies, proof giveaways, swag and fun activities at each publisher stall at YALC — you can find more information about signings, panels and workshops on their website.

For official YALC info, you can find the daily schedules here:  Friday // Saturday // Sunday.

Below you will find information listed by stall about fun stuff, early copies for sale, competitions and more. Pay attention to the key – some stalls are cash only, some card only and some both. It is recommended that you get cash out before you come to the show, as cash machines in Olympia often have long queues and sometimes run out of cash. There are several in the small shopping centre at Hammersmith’s Piccadilly and District line tube station (by the McDonald’s) and at the station at Kensington High Street. For more info on the area, check out my thread from last year.

It is going to be very hot again this year, so please be kind and considerate to your fellow attendees, but also authors and to the staff running these stalls who are on their feet working all three days, making the experience as fun as possible for us all, and will also be suffering with the heat. My top tips: bring fans, drinks and snacks, wear cool clothes, use the cloak room to store bags, be kind and look out for anyone who looks like they are struggling. 

This year I decided to organise the list by publisher/stall to make it easier for you to navigate YALC along with the map.

If you have anything you’d like to add to the YALC Guide, please DM me on Twitter, or drop me an email at hux.sewmanybooks AT gmail.com.

ANDERSEN PRESS [CASH ONLY] – Stall B1

  • Chinglish by Sue Cheung: competition, post your drawn 30-second self-portrait to Twitter. 5 winners per day chosen at 4.30pm.
  • Evernight by Ross Mackenzie: competition, tweet a photo of the proofs. 1 winner Friday & Saturday, chosen at 4.30pm.
  • All paperbacks £5, all hardbacks £10.

ATOM BOOKS [CASH ONLY] – Stall B3

BARRINGTON STOKE [CASH ONLY] – Stall A15

  • What Magic is This? by Holly Bourne: early copies for sale in the YALC bookshop. Show proof of purchase at stall to claim an A6 Holly Bourne print.
  • Letting Go by Cat Clarke: competition, visit stall to enter to win, one signed early copy available each day. Winners drawn at the end of the day.
  • The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James: buy from the YALC bookshop and bring proof of purchase to stall to claim steampunk/cog jewellery.
  • Free samplers showcasing summer/autumn YA titles by Cat Clarke, Eve Ainsworth, Holly Bourne, Lauren James and Elizabeth Wein.
  • Selection of books on sale for only £5.

BHC PRESS [CASH ONLY] – Stall C8

  • Meet N.J. Simmonds, author of The Path Keeper, who is running the stall this year.
  • Cover reveal of book two in the Indigo series, Son of Secrets.
  • Visit the stall for giveaways and signings.

BLOOMSBURY [CARD & CASH] – Stall B8&9

  • Friday 3.30pm, Karen Gregory will be signing I Hold Your Heart.
  • A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer: competition, tweet a photo of the proof & white rose on the stall to enter.
  • Signed Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas & goodies: competition, match the most quotes with the titles on the stall to win. 
  • Samplers of Havenfall by Sara Holland, and a Bloomsbury YA booklet full of Q&As, extracts & treats.
  • Enjoy exclusive artwork by Jim Kay of the Triwizard dragon from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Illustrated Edition. 

BKMRK [CARD NO CASH] – Booth A

  • The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave: raffle, 20 to win, pick up a ticket on Friday, winners chosen at 3.45pm.
  • SLAY by Brittney Morris: raffle, 20 to win, pick up a ticket on Saturday, winners chosen at 3.45pm. One winner will also win a VR headset.
  • The Liars by Jennifer Mathieu: raffle, 20 to win, pick up a ticket on Sunday, winners chosen at 2.45pm.
  • Signed King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo: 6 available per day, sign up for a chance to buy one, names drawn every day from 1pm.
  • Chill out in the Paper & Hearts Society zone, and swap books on the book-swap-shelf! 
  • On Saturday, take a polaroid with your pals to be featured on the Meat Market board.
  • On Sunday, celebrate the publication of Rose, Interrupted by Patrice Lawrence with everyone and cupcakes!
  • Free sanitary products in the YALC bathrooms, courtesy of The Hormone Diaries.

CHICKEN HOUSE [CASH ONLY] – Stall C14

  • Jelly by Claire Rees: buy your copy from the YALC bookshop, and pick up a free goodie bag from the stall.
  • The Loop by Ben Oliver: raffle, pick up tickets on Friday and Saturday. Winners drawn at 2.45pm.
  • Guess how many jelly beans there are in the jar to win a big bunch of YA books.
  • All paperbacks £5, all hardbacks £10.

ELECTRIC MONKEY [Not selling any books this year] – Stall C2

  • Chelsea High by Jenny Oliver: giveaway, take a post it featuring a role from Grease and try on an outfit, some roles mean you win! 10 proofs to win per day.
  • Samplers for The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven and Chelsea High by Jenny Oliver.
  • Play the Love Hypothesis chemistry bingo game to win a limited edition sampler, or enter The Exact Opposite of Okay caption contest.
  • Saturday 11.30-1pm, Aisha Bushby will be making origami paper stars on the stall. Join her, sign your social media handle inside the star, and you could win a signed proof of A Pocketful of Stars.

FABER & FABER [CARD & CASH] – Stall B10&11

  • Pet by Akwaeke Emezi: giveaway, win proofs, visit the stall for more info.
  • Giveaways to win The Curses by Laure Eve & In Paris With You by Clémentine Beauvais
  • Promotional material for The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds and Pet by Akwaeke Emezi.
  • Saturday 3.30pm: exclusive giveaway and signing with Alwyn Hamilton in the event space.

FIREFLY [CARD AND CASH] – Stall B2

HARPER 360 – [CASH & CARD] Stall B5

  • The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer: giveaway, Friday only, visit stall for more info.
  • Free Harper360 magazine showcasing new and backlist titles.
  • 1 sampler free with every purchase: The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy, and The Evil Queen by Gena Showlater.

HARPER VOYAGER [CARD AND CASH] – Booth D

  • Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron: raffle, pick up a ticket to win a proof and badge. 30 to win every day, winners drawn at 3pm every day.
  • Sign up to the Voyager newsletter to get a beautiful tote bag and a code for a free audiobook of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, and be entered into a prize draw to win copies of Darkdawn, Kingdom of Souls, The Dragon Republic, Stormtide, Kingdom of Copper and After the Flood.
  • Pose with Mr. Kindly from Nevernight, and post your photo. The best one gets to take him home.
  • Colour in the cover of The Binding by Bridget Collins to win an exclusive tote and notebook.
  • Visit the Voyager instagram booth, and set up some beautiful photos to share on bookstagram.
  • Look out for messages in a bottle. Tickets to win exclusive prizes are hidden inside.
  • Each day Voyager are giving away samplers of Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao and Monstrous Heart by Claire McKenna.

HASHTAG READS (Simon & Schuster) [CARD & CASH] – Stall B12&13

  • Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed: competition to win a proof, fill out a ballot slip to enter. All entries get a badge for taking part.
  • Infinity Son by Adam Silvera: 100 given away per day from the stall, first come first served.
  • Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart: raffle, 30 proofs to win every day at 11am. 10 signed proofs also up for grabs.
  • Jackpot by Nic Stone: competition, play jackpot on the stall to win a proof.
  • Samplers of Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu, Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett and And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando.
  • Sign up to Hashtag Reads newsletter to win their biggest 2019 and early 2020 titles.

HODDERSCAPE [CARD ONLY NO CASH] – Booth E

  • Dark Age by Pierce Brown: early copies for sale, exclusively at YALC.
  • Fairyloot Exclusive edition of Finale by Stephanie Garber: competition, post a photo to instagram using the props to enter.
  • Buy any two books from the stall and pick a free gift: ARCs of Girls of Storm and Shadow by Natasha Ngan, The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh or The Return by Rachel Harrison, samplers of First Sister by Linden Lewis or The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, or free Hodderscape goodies, including totes and badges.
  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers: giveaway, find all 10 planets around YALC to enter.
  • Saturday 1.30-4.30pm: free glitter tattoos in the activity area.
  • Free exclusive Laini Taylor tote with purchases of both Muse of Nightmares and Strange the Dreamer.
  • Sign up to the Hodderscape newsletter to win a bundle of YA and SFF books.

HOT KEY BOOKS [CARD & CASH] – Booth B

  • D.O.G.S. by M.A. Bennett: early copies for sale
  • Throne of Swans by Katherine & Elizabeth Corr: giveaway, 25 proofs per day, visit the stall to find out more.
  • Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo: competition, win a proof, visit the stall for more info
  • The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davies: competition, win a proof, visit the stall for more info
  • Samplers of Queen of Nothing by Holly Black and a big sampler containing chapters of Hot Key’s 2020 YA Books.
  • Friday, 10-11.30am: Deidre Sullivan will be doing tarot reading. Location TBC.

ILLUMICRATE [CARD AND CASH] – Stall A5

  • Saturday 1pm: Samantha Shannon signing on the stall.
  • Sunday 1pm: Kristina Perez signing on the stall. 
  • Exclusive YALC items for sale, as well as past Illumicrate books. 
  • A lucky dip for prizes and proof giveaways during the signings.

INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE [CARD & CASH]

  • Proof lucky dip — pick a shiny jiffy (the teaser words on the outside might help guide you…) and bag yourself a proof of a David Fickling Books novel.
  • The stall will be selling a wide range of books and graphic novels, from Granta, David Fickling Books, Europa Editions, Canongate, and Icon books including the Graphic History of Queer, Call Me By Your Name and The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson.

JOHN TARROW/TALLISTON [CARD & CASH] – Stall A14

JOSIE JAFFREY [CASH & CARD]

  • All seven novels available to purchase at discounted prices: pick up The Gilded King for £5 or the whole trilogy for £15. All books in the Solis Invicti quartet are £7.50 or £25 for the whole set. 
  • Beautiful enamel pin badges on sale for £2.50
  • Giveaway of early chapbooks of Josie’s latest short story, normally only available to Patreon supporters.
  • Every purchase gets a raffle ticket that enters you into a draw to win a totes, mugs and sets of pin badges. Winners picked twice a day.
  • Free stickers and bookmarks.

MELIA BOOKS [CARD AND CASH] – Stall C1

  • Pick up Tor US published titles right here.
  • On Sunday, pop over to the Illumicrate booth to Kristina Perez’s signing to potentially win Wild Savage Stars, the sequel to Sweet Black Waves.
  • Expect posters, sweets, pin badges, bookmarks, lovely company from our one and only Jamie-Lee Nardone, and prizes.

MY KINDA BOOK [CASH & CARD] – Booth C

  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal: early copies for sale on the MKB stall.
  • Wilder Girls by Rory Power: raffle, 100 copies to win, pick up a ticket, winners drawn at 3pm.
  • Friday 11am: win an Enchantée candle in lucky dip.
  • Saturday 11am: Wayward Son/Carry On by Rainbow Rowell themed Name That Spell competition.
  • Saturday 2pm: No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter themed “Empower a Stranger” message wall.
  • Sunday 10am: SING (Like No One’s Listening) by Vanessa Jones themed Musical Matches with free cupcakes.
  • Samplers of Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell.

PENGUIN [CASH & CARD] – Booth F

  • American Royals by Katherine McGee: giveaway, visit the stall on Saturday for more info.
  • Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett: giveaway, visit the stall on Sunday for more info.
  • Frankly in Love by David Yoon: free proof with the first 100 books sold at the PRH stand.
  • Fun freebies include a Percy Jackson sampler, Secret of the Commonwealth Oyster card holder, and Crossfire by Malorie Blackman inspired badges.
  • Look out for the Camp Half-Blood photo opportunities happening across YALC!

QUIRK BOOKS [CARD AND CASH] – Stall A9

  • Pick up xQuirk books on these two stalls.
  • Expect posters, sweets, pin badges, bookmarks, lovely company from our one and only Jamie-Lee Nardone, and prizes.

ROCK THE BOAT [CARD & CASH] – Stall A2

  • The Sky is Mine by Amy Beashel: ARC giveaway and signing at 12.30pm on Friday.
  • With every purchase, you can enter the tombola to win a book of your choice! Includes three rare proofs of Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (limited to one proof per person).
  • Free pronoun stickers, stickers for OtherLife by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, bookmarks for Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy, How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow and Aurora Rising.
  • Join the Aurora Academy: fill out a questionnaire to find out what member you are, successful applicants get a metallic pin badge with their sigil.

SCHOLASTIC [CASH ONLY] – Stall C3&4

  • Dead Popular by Sue Wallman: early copies for sale, if you buy you are entered into a draw to win an Instax mini camera.
  • Samplers for Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Exclusive Melinda Salisbury giveaway, details to be revealed!
  • Spend £10 on the stall and get an Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green tote bag.
  • Take a Chance on Me by Beth Garrod discounted during the daily ABBA disco hour.
  • Friday 11.30-1.30: nail art themed on Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood.

STRIPES [CASH & CARD] – Stall A3&4

  • Wranglestone by Darren Charlton: raffle, five exclusive signed proofs to win every day. Bring proof of purchase of Proud (photo of your copy/receipt/physical copy bought at YALC/proof of review) to enter. Winners drawn at 4pm every day. Darren will be at the stall on Friday afternoon to talk about the book!

SWEET CHERRY – [CASH AND CARD] Stall C10

  • Lily’s Just Fine (Galloway Girls Book 1) by Gill Stewart: on sale for only £5 with free bookmarks, postcards, charms and samplers for book 2.
  • Running several competitions included tweeting photos of their bookstagram corner, and guessing how many pins. Visit the stall to find out more.
  • Sign up to the Sweet Cherry newsletter to receive an exclusive Galloway Girls chapter.

TALLER BOOKS [CASH ONLY] – Stall B15

  • Battle Ground by Rachel Churcher: early copies for sale, £5 for paperback or free ebook.
  • Making Trouble by Rachel Churcher: ebook novella, free download available from stall.

USBORNE [CASH ONLY] – Stall C7

  • The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne: raffle, one ticket free with every purchase, two proofs to win every day, winners announced at 4.15pm. Also, look out for tear drops and visit the stall on Friday for some extra Holly Bourne themed activity.
  • Seafire by Natalie C. Parker: early copies for sale on stall.
  • Signed copies of My Secret Lies With You by Faye Bird, Birthday by Meredith Russo, Jemima Small Versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter, Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans, Slay by Kim Curran. All books 2 for £10, or rounded down by 99p.
  • Free pocket mirror with every purchase of Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans
  • Free Usborne 2020 sampler includes the first chapter of Holly Bourne’s The Places I Cried in Public, William Hussey’s Hideous Beauty, the new novel from 2018 YA Book prize winning author Will Hill, and more!
  • On Saturday, visit the stall to get your own personalised pep talk with the Pep Talk Takeaway.
  • Sunday 12.30pm: cover reveal for William Hussey’s Hideous Beauty in the Activity Area. Find out more, meet the author, and sign up for an early proof.

WALKER [CASH & CARD] – Stall B14

ZUNTOLD [CASH & CARD] – Stall A11

  • Selling lots of books including The Year I Didn’t Eat by Samuel Pollen.
  • Giveaways every day at 5pm — the best suggestions for the next YA bestseller wins!

ABRAMS & CHRONICLE do not have a stall this year, however they have sent samplers of Alice the Absent by A. G. Howard which should be available on the info table, and proofs of The Last Human by Lee Bacon, possibly at the info table as well.

Download this as a printable PDF below

Want to learn more about trans people? Suggestions from a non-binary babe

Two important non-fiction books have come across my desk in the last few months and I felt it was a great opportunity to share my take on them together.

I’m non-binary (or genderqueer). I have never felt wholly woman or wholly man, and is something I’ve felt but not quite understood for my entire life. I’ve explored various transitioning options, but right now I’m happy with a binder on my dysphoric days and people not referring to me as a lady/girl/woman, though I’m fine with she pronouns. Important aside note: this varies with every single person, so be sure to ask them!

The last few years have been a very interesting time for trans rights. You may remember a few years ago Laverne Cox graced the front cover of Time magazine, with the phrase “The Transgender Tipping Point” alongside her. This was 2014; Cox was a trans woman playing a trans character on Orange is the New Black and Caitlin Jenner had just announced that she would be transitioning. This was a time of hope, of visibility.

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In the last twelve months, it has felt like acceptable discrimination towards trans women in particular has escalated in the UK. It has felt, in watching from the sidelines, that much of the trans-exclusionary discourse has been allowed to continue as though it was a legitimate topic of discussion, as though debating someone’s personhood is okay. I’m not going to link to the fundraiser by disgraced former Labour Party members, but this article goes into a little detail of what’s been happening, for example, within a political party that is support to stand up for the oppressed. Meanwhile, the media has continued to pit trans exclusionary feminists against trans women on talk shows in some misguided and dangerous effort for the sake of balance. Paris Lees refers to the current wave of violence towards trans people as an epidemic.

One way you can support trans people is through buying work from trans creators, but also by reading about them, educating yourselves on their lives and the issues they face daily. For this, I would immediately direct your attention to two books: Trans Like Me by CN Lester and Trans Britain edited by Christine Burns.

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Trans Like Me is a mixture of memoir and writing about the current climate around trans people. Lester, who is non-binary, has created an informative introduction to issues surrounding trans people without ever being patronising. While trans people may be familiar with much of the introductory topics Lester provides, I suspect that much of the information about current issues for trans people will be new to many cis people.

As a non-binary person, I found reading Lester’s struggles with presentation and their frustrations at the limitations of hormonal therapy — to be personal here, a major factor in not taking hormones for me was wanting to maintain my singing voice, the same as Lester.

It is an affirming, emotional book that made me cry multiple times.

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Trans Britain is a very different but complementary book to Trans Like Me; a historical anthology, including essays from individual people telling their own story within the major eras of trans history in the UK. Burns sets the scene by dividing the book into three distinct sections, and introducing them to the climate of that era, providing a reader with an overview that places the following essays within a clear cultural context.

The chapter on non-binary people was an essential learning process for me, seeing how we fit into the historical trans movement. I’ve only really began to understand myself as non-binary, knowing that I’ve always been “other” than the binary gender options, and this chapter in particular made me feel so much more connected to myself.

This is a book of mini-memoirs, and the story of a history that is still unfolding.

Trans Like Me: UK (Hive) // International (Book Depository)

Trans Britain: UK (Hive) // International (Book Depository)

These are both a great place to start. This thread I did for Trans Day of Remembrance has a number of recommendations from genres beyond non-fiction, so no matter what your reading style is there’s something for you to read. If young adult fiction is a favourite of yours, there are a number of trans main characters in the novels reference in this list.

Have you read either of these books? Do you have any recommendations? Tell me in the comments!

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan | 1 Minute Reviews

I’m going to warn you right now, this is really, really sad.

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If You Could Be Mine follows seventeen year old Sahar and Nasrin, two girls in love in Iran, a country where it is illegal to be gay. When Nasrin announces that her parents have arranged for her to marry a doctor, Sahar becomes determined to find a way they can make their love public without risking their lives. After meeting some openly trans people at one of her cousin Ali’s parties, Sahar realises the answer to all her problems is to transition to be a man as gender reassignment is not illegal in Iran.

This novel is so heartbreaking and painful to read. Sahar is so desperate to be whoever she can to be with Nasrin, and you cannot help but root for her all the way through.

Sara Farizan explains the realities of being queer or trans in Iran, rarely holding back on the difficulties of hiding who you truly are in the country her parents grew up in. Sahar’s interest in transitioning is handled delicately, and at no times did I think that the actual trans people in the book were treated with anything other than respect. This serves to shed light on the difficulties that trans people face around the world, not just in Iran.

This small yet intense novel deals with a lot of large, highly complex issues, alongside a compelling first romance.

Hive // Book Depository

What to read next:

 

New releases from Walker Books to look forward to

Since my blog and poor internet connection conspired to swallow this post in the recent past, this is two weeks later than it was supposed to be. But ho hum, technology full of weasels can only get me down for so long. I was very lucky to get a spot at the Walker Books young adult preview evening for 2018. You might have caught my live tweets during the evening, but I thought I’d go into more detail here about the books in order of release date.

Settle down, because this is a multi-media presentation including several high quality book trailers. Fancy. Okay let’s go!

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First up was How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, pitched as Mean Girls meets The Craft. The Salem witch trials takes the centre stage in this teen drama, plus creepiness and swoony romances and I am extremely here for this. We were reliably informed that it includes an inconveniently attractive ghost. Here’s the summary:

Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?

Also it has a book trailer with surprisingly high production value, which is wild; you can watch it here. I’m fully expecting to enjoy this, based on my deep love for The Graces by Laure Eve. You can find out more about Adriana Mather herself in this intro video.

Buy How to Hang a Witch: Hive // Book Depository

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Next up was Scythe by Neal Shusterman; digital networks in place of government control life except death, which is in the hands of Scythes. The only way to die is to be gleaned by a trained Scythe. When two teenagers are chosen to be apprentice Scythes, they learn that their final task will a fight to the death. This sounds absolutely wild. I’m really lucky that Walker Books sent me a copy of this after the event, and it turns out this is the start of a series, with Thunderhead coming out in August. My immediate vibe from this is it would be really enjoyed by fans of The Bone Season or perhaps Gilded Cage. And look, another book trailer!

Buy Scythe: Hive // Book Depository

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Landscape with Invisible Hand from M. T. Anderson continues the sci-fi theme but, slightly unusually for YA, is a novella. The story follows benevolent invasions by aliens like granite coffee tables, mixed with a lot of strange humour and explores art truth and colonisation. After the invasion goes south and Adam is left poor, he and his girlfriend Chloe decide to create a pay-to-watch tv show of 1950s style dates.

Buy Landscape with Invisible Hand: Hive // Book Depository

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We’re also being treated to some cute recovers this year! To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy and film deal, Walker have released these stunning completely black covers. I’ve not read this series yet (I know, I know) and I’m so glad I get to start with these stunners now.

The Knife of Letting Go: Hive // Book Depository

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Walker have also started releasing the Magnus Bane short stories by Cassandra Clare in these cute little individual hardbacks. So far they’ve released The Midnight Heir and The Course of True Love is out this month. They’re a really cute size, pocket sized really, and would make a great gift for Cassie Clare fans. I only just started reading her books last year, but beautiful queer Magnus is basically the reason I read them.

All of those are already out, so now it’s time to get hyped for the future releases!

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Flying Tips for Flightless Birds by Kelly McCaughran has been on my radar for the last few months, simply because queer romance is what I’ve been waiting for in the recent trend of circus themed books. Twins Birdie and Finch Franconi are stars of the trapeze in their family circus, but when Birdie has an accident, Hector Hazzard joins Finch to form a boy-only double-act to save the business. And of course, emotions happen.Set in Northern Ireland and discusses homophobic bullying, alongside trying to save the family business and discovering secrets. Excited for some queer romance, lads. My hands were shaking a little when I found this in my bag because it sounds so great.

Preorder (publishes 1st March): Hive // Book Depository

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Next is a book I’ve not heard a lot about yet, but am excited to read. The Goose Road by Rowena House is set in 1916 in France. When Angélique hears news of her father’s death on the frontlines, she promises to keep her family farm running until her brother returns from the war. But in order to keep the promise, she will have to journey across France, accompanied by a flock of geese. The Bookseller have described it as “Gorgeous historical novel … An impressive debut with a tenacious heroine.”

Preorder here (publishes 5th April): Hive // Book Depository

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Slightly dodgy picture of the screen but this is the UK cover

Coming in May ready for to be your poolside read is The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson. Originally published in the US, The Wonder of Us follows two best friends, recently separated when one family moves to Germany, who reunite to travel Europe… though they’re pretty mad at each other right now. This immediately makes me think of Keris Stainton’s One Italian Summer and Remix by Non Pratt.

Preorder here (releases May): Hive // Book Depository

I did a shriek when the next book got announced — no cover art to share just yet as it’s too far in the future — but the sequel to Girl Out of Water is FINALLY coming this summer. I absolutely loved Nat Luurtesma‘s first novel about Lou, a former swimmer who coaches a team of boys in synchronised swimming for a national tv competition. Lou Out of Luck follows Lou and her family struggling with poverty while she works through her first relationship. Luurtesma’s writing is hilarious and heartfelt, and I am really happy to see more working-class characters in literature.

Preorder here (releases June): Hive // Book Depository

I had the real joy of snagging a ticket to Angie Thomas’ appearance in London next month, where I hope she’ll talk more about her next book, On the Come Up. Thomas’ second novel returns to Garden Heights with a story about an up and coming teen rapper.

Preorder here (releases June): Hive // Book Depository

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And finally, the last book we got to hear about I have already demolished. White Rabbit Red Wolf is a thriller about spies, maths and mental health, from YA author and mental health advocate Tom Pollock. You can read my review of this exciting, brilliant book here.

Preorder here (releases 7th June): Hive // Book Depository

Thank you to Walker for hosting such a wonderful night and providing us with books, drinks and good food — never before have I eaten a spherical chicken kiev, what an experience.

Which books are you looking forward to most?

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz | 1 Minute Reviews

It has taken me so long to write about my love for this novel, because I feel like I’m still breathing out. This novel is a held gasp, a subtly growing tension.

Ari is an angry young Latino man growing up in Texas in the late 1980s. He has a brother his parents refuse to talk about, his sisters have moved away, and he is (mostly) friendless and bored. In order to cope with his frustrations, Ari takes to the swimming pool, where he meets Dante Quintana. Dante is sincere, intelligent and confident in his Mexican identity, and Ari is instantly drawn to him. Can their friendship and Dante’s openness free Ari from his pain?

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This is a stunning novel. The prose is particularly sparse, and often focussed almost entirely on the dialogue between the characters. The book is split up into six sections, and the individual chapters are generally quite short, often more like vignettes of single pages.

I really love the way their romance is born of friendship, a slow burn that feels so true to the characters, especially Ari who struggles to understand his own hopes and desires. In relation to the book and his own experiences, Sáenz talked about sexuality to NPR here.

I feel that Ari’s anger will resonate with many young people, especially young men. Sáenz explores anger critically, the way it squashes Ari’s other emotions, and equally interrogates some of the toxic aspects of masculinity.

Since its publication in 2012, Aristotle and Dante has won plenty of well-deserved awards, including the Stonewall Book award for LGBT fiction and the Lambda Literary Award. Also, I have just found out that the audiobook is read by Lin Manuel Miranda!?

In 2016, Sáenz announced he is working on the sequel, There Will be Other Summers, which picks up immediately after Aristotle and Dante. In the meantime, he has recently released The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, which is currently top of my reading list.

Sáenz is a fascinating writer, both a poet and a writer of young adult fiction. I want to leave you with this poem, To the Desert, which I like to think is written by Ari for Dante.

Get it here: Hive (UK) // Book Depository (Int)

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Solitaire by Alice Oseman (& all her other creations) | 1 Minute Reviews

Alice Oseman is one of the most interesting voices in UK young adult fiction right now, and one of my favourite creators across the board. This started as a review of Solitaire, but has quickly descended into a celebration of the magical stuff that Oseman creates. Stick with me.

I’ve previously spoken about Radio Silence, her second novel, and I had been saving Solitaire in some form of protectionism, determined to make sure I always had one spare (yes I know this is weird, okay). I realised I had to get over this, and just let myself enjoy it. So I did. And I did.

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Tori Spring is a dry witted cynic, who spends most of her time being sarcastic on the internet – here is her tumblr set before the start of the novel (yes really). But one day, Tori comes across the mysterious Solitaire and their public demonstrations – are they a group of pranksters, or are their motives more sinister? And why do they seem to always turn up when Tori is around? Not only is she dealing with a shadowy organisation, but she seems to have gained a friend in Michael Holden, possibly the most colourful positive antithesis to her. Are the rumours that dog Holden true? Will Tori and Michael get the root of Solitaire before something really bad happens?

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strongly considering getting this on a tshirt

Solitaire is Oseman’s debut novel, released while she was still a teenager, written in her bed after school and partially inspired by the first series of Skins. I absolutely loved this book. Tori is a great character; fiercely protective of her younger brother Charlie and his care, while also unable to see her own needs. She is witty and complex, and utterly relatable to depressed struggling teenagers. And Michael Holden is just the cutest little perfect bean in the whole world. I’m sorry, it’s true.

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I love this picture of Michael and Tori ❤

What I didn’t know before was that her novels are all set in the same universe, with shared characters and settings. Not only that, but Oseman draws fan art of her characters, which has since evolved into Heartstopper, a comic all about two of my favourite characters from Solitaire, Tori’s brother Charlie and his boyfriend Nick. I’ve been a Patreon backer since Alice launched it but hadn’t read it until November because of the whole not reading Solitaire, saving art so that there’s always some more etc etc. But what I’m saying is you must must must read Solitaire then go binge Heartstopper, which is the story of how Nick and Charlie got together. Oseman has stated that she intends to produce a book of Heartstopper in the future and has already created a short comic which you can pick up a digital copy of here.

She also has two ebook novellas that follow on from Solitaire which you can get here – Nick and Charlie and This Winter. I sincerely hope that her publishers publish these in hard format in the future!

You can also go find out which of Alice’s character is most like you in this handy quiz. I was surprised but very happy to discover I was Charlie Spring, and Tim got Tori. Almost as good as us getting Narlie.

ALSO, Alice does commissions, and did my new Twitter avi. Commission her here!

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And, on top of all this, Alice has just announced the cover for her third book, I Was Born For This, which I am extremely here for.

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Anyway, going back to Solitaire, you can get it here: Hive (UK) / Book Depository (Int)

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Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan | 1 Minute Reviews

I have talked before about missing out on a generation of YA novels that appeared around me being a teenager up until my mid twenties, a time when I got the least reading in my life done due to work, school and crushes.

David Levithan is one of those authors that falls into the hole, and is something I’ve been meaning to explore more after reading his charming queer co-write with Nina LaCour, You Know Me Well.

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I decided to go deep into his backlist to find a book that he wrote solo — he often writes with LaCour, John Green and Rachel Cohn — and decided to choose Boy Meets Boy, a story about falling in and out of love.

Paul is gay, and open about it. He’s known it his whole life, and that’s fine, while his best friend Tony has to hide his sexuality from his religious parents. He’s experienced kissing the straight boy Kyle, who inexplicably has started talking to him again, and he’s desperately trying to cope with the fact his other best friend Joni is falling in love with completely the wrong guy. At a friend’s gig at a local bookstore, he meets Noah, the mystery boy of his dreams and he falls fast. But things soon get extremely complicated; will Paul survive his first heartbreak?

This is a book that set out from the outset to present an ideal, a world where kids can be who they are, open about their gender and sexuality in ways that they perhaps were not actually able to be in 2003. I’m totally here for it. There’s still plenty of teenagers in their small towns, wishing and hoping for a future life where they can have a whole group of queer friends, feel safe in being who they are openly, and I think this book is the hope that many of them need.

However, this novel has in its fifteen years of shelf life dated a little, especially in how Infinite Darlene is described as drag queen when it appears that actually she’s more of a trans woman, as she appears to permanently live as Darlene. Saying that, Darlene is a character generally treated with utmost respect and is possibly one of my favourite characters I’ve read in a while — bossy, forthright and always on the mark.

This is a bubblegum of a ya novel; adorable and sweet and painful in all the right ways. A story of hope and possibilities and things to come, as all upbeat young adult novels should be.

Get it here: UK (Hive) / International (Book Depository)

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