When I was relatively new to the blogging world, I found a blog post written by Eve from Twist in the Taile (this was back before I followed their blog, actually, but I remembered it because of their opinions on Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine) giving their opinions on the Carnegie shortlist. When they announced the YA Book Prize for this year, I knew that I really wanted to do an equivalent over on my blog.
Sadly I didn’t really factor in exams with the reading process, so while I didn’t get to read all of the books on the shortlist despite owning one that I haven’t read yet, and having taken a couple out of the library (and seeing as the winner is going to be announced in a few days, I figured I had to do this post soon if I wanted to do it at all). Anyhow, I thought that I would adapt my original intentions, and do my opinions on the four I have read, as well as my general thoughts on the books on the shortlist as a whole.
Of the four I did read, the one I liked the least was Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence. I wrote a review of it, but basically I found it really hard to connect with the protagonist, especially as he would constantly promise his mother one thing, and then do another (although yay for involved parents in YA). However, I know that a lot of people have really enjoyed this book – it even won a Waterstones’ book prize – so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was victorious here as well! I think it just wasn’t for me on the whole.
Next up was How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss. While being third on this list may not seem that great, it was actually a pretty good book – the standard was just pretty high among the books I read. This book dealt with some pretty heavy topics, but kept a sort of lightness about it. I read it quite a while ago, so I can’t remember my exact thoughts, but having reread my review of it, I know it had a positive lovely tone on the whole.
Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard is a book I think pretty much everyone in the bookish community has heard of as it made it into the Zoella book club’s first round. The thing I loved most about this book was the female friendships, and the exploration of mental health within that. It was just such a good and involving book that I knew it would rank highly among the ones I’d read.
However, for me the top choice had to be Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield. This book absolutely destroyed me emotionally, and I was on the verge of tears pretty much the whole time I was reading it. It tells the story of June, who is subject to child abuse, and Blister, her loyal friend. Lisa Heathfield’s writing is just so hard-hitting and leaves you thinking about it for a long time afterwards, and in my opinion, of the ones I’ve read at least, this book deserves the prize most.
The other books that made the shortlist were:
- Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle
- Riverkeep by Martin Stewart
- The Call by Peader O’Guilin
- The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
- Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman
- The Graces by Laure Eve
I am very annoyed that I didn’t get around to reading more of them, especially when I planned to – I got The Monstrous Child out at my local library, I have a copy of The Graces which I bought in October for YA Shot – but sadly there just wasn’t time for all the reading I wanted to do. Nonetheless, I have no doubt that I will get to these books eventually, and might give my thoughts then. I’m excited to hear the final results shortly too!