Shortlist

Wranglestone by Darren Charlton

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Wranglestone is an atmospheric and clever commentary on a society in survival mode, with themes of love and acceptance at its heart. 

In post-apocalyptic America a community survives in a national park surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay, but when winter comes, there’s nothing to stop them from crossing the ice. After homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore, he’s forced to leave the community of Wranglestone and help rancher Cooper, the boy he’s always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over. But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past — one that forces the pair to question everything they’ve ever known.

Author bio

Darren Charlton lives in Hastings and works in the voluntary sector for a homeless organisation. His lifetime obsessions with the National Parks of America, horror, film music and 80s kids movies have all worked their way into his writing. 

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Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson

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This is the sequel to thriller A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, which was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize in 2019. 

Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore. With the help of Ravi Singh, she released a true-crime podcast about the murder case they solved together last year. The podcast has gone viral, yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her. But she will have to break that promise when Jamie Reynolds disappears but the police won’t do anything about it. And if they won’t look for Jamie then Pip will, uncovering more of her town’s dark secrets along the way... and this time everyone is listening. 

Author bio

Holly Jackson is the bestselling author of A Good Girl's Guide to Murder — the critically-acclaimed number one debut of 2019. She lives in London and aside from reading and writing, she enjoys playing video games and watching true crime documentaries so she can pretend to be a detective.

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And the Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

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And the Stars Were Burning Brightly is a novel about loss, understanding and the importance of speaking up when all you want to do is shut down.

When 15-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world falls apart. Al was talented. Al was ambitious. Al was going places... So why did he do it? Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan looks into Al’s life and relationships. As he does, he meets Megan, Al’s former classmate, who is as determined as Nathan to keep Al’s memory alive. Together they start seeking answers about the truth of AI's death. 

Author bio

Danielle Jawando is an author, screenwriter and Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her first non-fiction book for children, a biography about the life of Maya Angelou, was published by Laurence King in 2019. Her debut YA novel And The Stars Were Burning Brightly, was published by Simon & Schuster last year, and has gone on to be shortlisted for several awards. Her second novel for young adults will be published in 2022.

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Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence

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Eight Pieces of Silva is an addictive mystery that follows Becks, who is into girls, but didn’t come out because she was never in. She lives with her mum, stepdad and 18-year-old stepsister Silva. Becks and Silva are opposites but bond over their mutual obsession with K-pop.

When Becks’s mum and stepdad go on honeymoon to Japan Becks and Silva are left alone. Except Silva disappears. Becks ventures into forbidden territory — Silva’s room. There she finds the first of eight clues that help her discover her sister’s secret life. Meanwhile, Silva is on a journey to make someone love her. He says he doesn’t, but he’s just joking. All she has to do is persuade him otherwise.

Author bio

Patrice Lawrence was born in Brighton and brought up in an Italian-Trinidadian household in Mid Sussex. She lives in east London and shares a cat called Stormageddon. She loves crime fiction, sci-fi and trying to grow things. Her ideal mixtape includes drum 'n' bass, Bruce Springsteen and Studio Ghibli soundtracks. Music can't help creeping into her books. Her debut novel, Orangeboy, won the Waterstone's Book Prize for Older Readers and the YA Book Prize, and her second novel, Indigo Donut, won the Crime Fest Best Crime Fiction for Young Adults and was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize. 

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Loveless by Alice Oseman

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Loveless is Alice Oseman's fourth novel and is a story of identity and self-acceptance, as protaganist Georgia and her friends discover true love isn't limited to romance. 

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush –but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day. As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her — asexual, aromantic — Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever. Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

Author bio

Alice Oseman was born in 1994 in Kent, England. She completed a degree in English at Durham University in 2016 and is currently a full-time writer and illustrator. Alice can usually be found staring aimlessly at computer screens, questioning the meaninglessness of existence, or doing anything and everything to avoid getting an office job. Alice's first book, Solitare, was published when she was 19. 

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The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

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The Great Godden follows two families over one dreamy summer in a holiday house by the sea, hot days filled with food and wine, swimming and games, plans for a wedding and plans for the future.

Enter the Godden brothers — irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit, and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in paradise — and the consequences are devastating.

Author bio

Meg Rosoff is the author of six young adult novels including the best-selling How I Live Now. She is the winner of the Carnegie Medal, the Printz Award, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, an Alex Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.  

Find out more about Meg at her website.

Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter

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Melt My Heart follows Lily Rose and her best friend Cassie, who have university looming and threatening to tear them apart at the end of the summer. 

Lily Rose is used to people paying attention to her gorgeous twin sister, Daisy. But even though Lily loves her own fat body, she can't shake the idea that no one would ever choose her over Daisy — not when they could have the thin twin. That is, until she meets Cal, the gorgeous, sweet guy from New Zealand who can't seem to stay away. The gorgeous, sweet guy who also happens to be Daisy's summer crush.

Lily can't seem to figure out why she isn't as into him as she should be. She should be head-over-heels in love, not missing time at the ice-cream shack with her life-long best friend, Cassie. Not wondering what Cassie is getting up to with Cal's friend Jack, or what she's thinking about when they're alone . . .

Author bio

Bethany Rutter is a journalist and blogger who writes about plus size fashion and body politics including the benefits and limitations of body positivity. She works in marketing at a plus-size fashion brand and is an occasional DJ. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, Telegraph Magazine, Vogue, Dazed, RedOnline, the Debrief and others. She co-hosts the podcast "What Page Are You On?" and is the author of Plus+, a coffee table book offering style inspiration for everyone. Her debut novel No Big Deal was published in 2019 by Macmillan Children’s Books.

 

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Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury

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Hold Back the Tide is a gripping paranormal horror with an environmental message. Set in a quiet lakeside community in 1800’s Scotland with one open secret — everyone knows that Alva's father killed her mother all those years ago.

Alva is planning to leave as soon as she can, but then the waters in the loch start dropping. And some things should stay hidden... When rumours start of dark creatures rising from the lake, Alva ignores them. But as terror begins to hold the village in its grip, Alva comes to realise that there may well be a connection between the secrets of her past and the horror of her present.

Author bio

Melinda Salisbury is the three-time Carnegie nominated and bestselling author of multiple young adult novels, including The Sin Eater's Daughter series, the Sorrow duology, and Hold Back the Tide. Her first novel, The Sin Eater's Daughter, was the bestselling UK YA debut novel of 2015, and collectively her books have been nominated for multiple awards and published in 15 countries to date. August 2021 will see the publication of her first non-fiction book, The Way Back Almanac. Melinda currently lives on the East Sussex coast and is a passionate vegan and amateur naturalist. 

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Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle

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Cane Warriors follows the true story of Tacky’s War in Jamaica, 1760.

Fourteen-year-old Moa has only ever known life toiling on the Frontier sugar cane plantation for endless hot days, fearing the vicious whips of the overseers. Then one night he learns of an uprising, led by the charismatic Tacky. Moa is to be a cane warrior, and fight for the freedom of all the enslaved people in the nearby plantations. But before they can escape, Moa and his friend Keverton must face their first great task: to kill their overseer, Misser Donaldson. 

Author bio

Alex Wheatle is the author of several acclaimed novels, many of them inspired by experiences from his childhood. He was born in Brixton to Jamaican parents, and spent most of his childhood in a Surrey children’s home. Following a short stint in prison following the Brixton uprising of 1981, he wrote poems and lyrics and became known as the Brixton Bard. Alex has been longlisted for the Carnegie Medal, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008.

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A Snowfall of Silver by Laura Wood

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A Snowfall of Silver is an enchanting coming of age romance about following your dreams — even when they aren't quite what you expected.

In the autumn of 1931, 18-year-old Freya Trevelyan runs away from her home in Cornwall to follow her dream of becoming an actress. When she is invited to join a theatrical company about to head out on tour, Freya thinks the path to success is clear, and, amidst all the glamour and bustle of stage life, she finds a place to belong for the first time. But what if her life — and falling in love — turn out to be nothing like she planned?

Author bio

Laura Wood is the winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing. Her first YA novel A Sky Painted Gold was shortlisted for the 2019 YA Book Prize, 2018 BAMB Readers’ Awards and the 2019 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Awards. Her second YA novel, Under A Dancing Star, was hailed as ‘achingly romantic’ by the Observer. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed Vote for Effie (shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award) and the Poppy Pym series for younger readers.

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