The YA Book Prize 2015! Thursday 19th March…

CA - YA Book Prize Established by The Bookseller magazine in association with Movella’s, the inaugural YA Book Prize is due to be awarded to a talented author writing for young adults on Thursday 19th March. Read on for more!

The YA Book Prize draws from all genres, though naturally our particular interest lies in the fantastical and speculative. So we’ll salute the winner of 2015, but focus here particularly on the four worthies in our favourite areas of reading.


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Online and social media links for the prize itself at the bottom. Good luck everyone!


CPP - James Dawson Say Her Name




The truth is more terrifying than the legend. When Bobbie and her best friend Naya are dared by their schoolmates to summon the legendary ghost of Bloody Mary, neither really believes that anything will happen. So they complete the ritual, and chant Mary’s name five times in front of a candlelit mirror . . . Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary. . . And something is called forth that night. Something dark, terrifying and out of control. She will be there, just out of sight, in the corner of your eye. She will lurk in your nightmares. She will hide in the shadows of your bedroom. She will be waiting in every mirror that you see. She is everywhere. And she wants revenge.

Quote: The Bookseller team said: “Dawson is brilliant at writing teenage girls and we loved the fact that this book is like Point Horror but with a lot more subtlety and complexity. A really good read.”

James Dawson is a former PSHCE teacher, and the author of several YA novels and This Book is Gay, a guide to being LGBT. This year he was crowned the Queen of Teen.


CA - Half Bad




Nathan Byrne is Half Bad. He’s half white witch . . . half black witch. His mother was a healer . . . his father is a killer. He’s wanted by no one…but hunted by everyone.

Quote: The Bookseller team said: “This is a compelling and original book, set in a brilliantly fantastical world. It is also a wonderful exploration of family relationships.”

Sally Green lives in north-west England. She has had various jobs, but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing- and now she just can’t stop. Half Bad is her first novel.


CA - Only Ever Yours





Frieda and Isabel have been best friends their whole lives. Now, aged sixteen and in their final year at the School, they expect to be selected as companions – wives to wealthy and powerful men. The alternative – life as a concubine – is too horrible to contemplate. But as the intensity of the final year takes hold, the pressure to remain perfect becomes almost unbearable. isabel starts to self-destruct, putting her beauty – her only asset – in peril. And then, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Frieda must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love she has ever known . . .

The Bookseller team said: “We were blown away by this book. The strength of the voice from the first page, the depth of the subject matter and the feminist, dystopian plot kept us gripped all the way through.”

Louise O’Neill was born in west Cork in 1985. She studied English at Trinity College Dublin and has worked for the senior style director of American Elle magazine. While in New York, she also worked as an assistant stylist on a number of high-profile campaigns. She won Newcomer of the Year at the 2014 Irish Book Awards.


CA - Ghosts of Heaven




The spiral has existed as long as time has existed. It is there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world, where a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors they hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny. Each takes their step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so their journeys begin . . .

The Bookseller team said: “This book speaks about the teenage experience in a different but important way. It makes teenagers think about things beyond their immediate lives, about ethics and the meaning of life. It is so unique and intelligent.”

Marcus Sedgwick is the author of several books for children and teenagers and has won the Printz Award for Midwinterblood, the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award. He was writer in residence at Bath Spa University for three years, and has taught creative writing at Arvon and Ty Newydd.


More details on the other shortlisted books can be found here and they are:

CA - YA - SFEG CA - Salvage CA - Lobsters CA - Finding a Voice CA - Goose CA - Trouble


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