The YA Book Prize

Great books for teenagers and young adults

Winner of the YA Book Prize 2015

Only Ever Yours by, Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours was chosen as the winner by a panel of teen and industry judges and was announced at a ceremony at Foyles Charing Cross, on the 19th March.

“Only Ever Yours is as far as I'm concerned not just a worthy winner of the prize but one of the best speculative fiction books I've read in years. It pushes the boundaries of contemporary YA. I'll be pressing it into the hands of anyone who might read it.”
Rick O'Shea, YA Book Prize judge and broadcaster at RTE

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Welcome to the The YA Book Prize, a BRAND NEW prize for UK and Irish YA books! We’ve shortlisted 10 fantastic books for the 2015 prize, with a mixture of romance, realism, dystopia, horror and fantasy.

Over the next few months our judges will choose the winning book but in the meantime we want to know which one is your favourite. Get involved with the conversation using the social media buttons above and tell us your choice using #Team + the title. So if your favourite is Lobsters, tweet us with #TeamLobsters and so on.

Keep your eyes peeled for a chance to win the shortlist, because we'll be launching competitions on social media very soon.

From the Blog

What's on the Shortlist

Click a Book for more Information

A Song For Ella Grey David Almond

  • Claire is Ella Grey's best friend. She is there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high-arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story, as she bears witness to a love so complete, so sure, that not even death can prove final.

    Quote: The Bookseller team said: “We love David Almond’s writing: his flights of imagination and exceptional prose style are a class above the rest.”

SalvageKeren David

  • Before she was adopted by a loving family and raised in a leafy Home Counties town, Cass Montgomery was Cass Jones. Her memories of her birth family disappeared with her name. But when her adopted family starts to break down, a way out comes in the form of a message from her lost brother, Aidan. Having Aidan back in her life is both everything she needs and nothing she expected. Who is this boy who calls himself her brother? And why is he so haunted?

    Quote: The Bookseller team said: “We loved Keren David’s contemporary family drama that looks at tough issues, such as adoption. It is one of the most compelling books we’ve read this year.”

Say Her NameJames Dawson

  • 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.”

LobstersTom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

  • Sam and Hannah have just the summer before uni to find ‘The One’. Their lobster. But fate works against them, with awkward misunderstandings, the plotting of friends and their own fears of being virgins for ever. In the end, though, it all boils down to love . . .

    Quote: The Bookseller team said: “This book struck a very strong chord with us because we could really relate to teenage life as it is depicted here. The use of dual narration works very well and, best of all, it is hilarious!”

Half BadSally Green

  • 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.”

Finding a VoiceKim Hood

  • Jo could never have guessed that the friendship she so desperately craves would come in the shape of a severely disabled boy. He can’t even speak. Maybe it is because he can’t speak that she finds herself telling him how difficult it is living with her eccentric, mentally fragile mother. Behind Chris’ lopsided grin and gigantic blue wheelchair is a real person — with a sense of humour, a tremendous stubborn streak and a secret he has kept from everyone. For a while it seems life may actually get better. But as Jo finds out just how terrible life is for Chris, and as her own life spirals out of control, she becomes desperate to change things for both of them. In a dramatic turn of events, Jo makes a decision that could end in tragedy.

    Quote: The Bookseller team said: “The writer deals with a difficult subject matter in an honest and heartbreaking way. Hood draws us in to the impact of mental health issues on children and the challenges of disability but mainly just tells a beautiful and worthwhile story”

Only Ever YoursLouise O’Neill

  • 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 . . .

    Quote: 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.”

Goose Dawn O’Porter

  • Renee and Flo are eighteen and on the brink of their adult lives. But while Flo is determined to get to uni and take Renee with her, Renee can feel her sense of independence soar. In their final year before leaving their home on Guernsey, will Renee and Flo still be each other’s soulmates, or is this the end of their friendship?

    Quote: The Bookseller team said: “This book is just perfect when it comes to portraying teenage girls on the cusp of adulthood, and all the problems they face. Brilliant.”

TroubleNon Pratt

  • Hannah is smart and funny. She’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is the new boy at school. He doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does Aaron offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters.

    Quote: The Bookseller team said: “We loved this book. The voices of the characters are spot on and it has a huge heart as well. It is the sort of novel that reads so easily but is devilishly hard to actually write.”

Ghosts of HeavenMarcus Sedgwick

  • 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 . . .

    Quote: 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.”

  • David Almond

    * David Almond


    David Almond is one of the UK’s most respected authors and his work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He has won many important children’s book awards, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2010 and the Carnegie Medal in 1998.

  • Keren David

    * Keren David


    Keren David is an author and former journalist who wrote her first novel while taking a course in writing for children at City University. She is also the author of the When I Was Joe trilogy and Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery.

  • James Dawson

    * James Dawson


    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.

  • Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

    * Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison


    Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison met while in the sixth form, and have been friends ever since. Lucy runs online teen magazine Whatever After, as well as teaching in girls’ schools across London, specialising in building confidence and creativity. Tom is a journalist and has written for ShortList, Time Out, Vice, talkSPORT, ESPN and Viz.

  • Sally Green

    * Sally Green


    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.

  • Kim Hood

    * Kim Hood


    Kim Hood grew up in Canada but now lives on the west coast of Ireland. Her eclectic working experience in education, therapy and community services has presented endless opportunities to observe a world of interesting characters.

  • Louise O’Neill

    * Louise O’Neill


    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.

  • Dawn O’Porter

    * Dawn O’Porter


    Dawn O'Porter is a broadcaster, novelist and print journalist. Goose is the sequel to her critically acclaimed debut Paper Aeroplanes. This year she set up her own clothing label, BOB, inspired by vintage fashion.

  • Non Pratt

    * Non Pratt


    After graduating from Trinity College, Cambridge, Non Pratt became a book editor. She lives in London with her husband and small(ish) child, and writes full time. Trouble is her first novel.

  • Marcus Sedgwick

    * Marcus Sedgwick


    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.

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  • Jo Anne Cocadiz

    * Jo Anne Cocadiz

    Specialist Children's bookseller at Foyles

    Jo Anne has over seventeen years experience as a bookseller, beginning at Barnes & Noble in Detroit before moving to London. She has been a specialist Children's bookseller at Foyles since 2004 and is currently Head of the Children's department at the flagship store on Charing Cross Road.

  • Melissa Cox

    * Melissa Cox

    Children's book buyer at Waterstones

    Melissa Cox is head of children’s buying at Waterstones and has worked for the chain for seven years. She is now based at the company's flagship Piccadilly store in London but started as a shopfloor bookseller at the Romford shop. She was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2013.

  • Charlotte Eyre

    * Charlotte Eyre

    Children’s editor at The Bookseller and chair of judges

    Charlotte Eyre is the children’s editor at The Bookseller magazine, where she is responsible for coverage of the children’s and YA book market. She also helped programme the Children’s Bookseller Conference.

  • Kirsten Grant

    * Kirsten Grant

    Director of World Book Day

    Kirsten Grant is director of World Book Day, the biggest trade-wide celebration of reading and books for children and teens in the UK and Ireland. She has worked in children’s publishing for 18 years and was formerly marketing and campaigns director at PuffinBooks.

  • Erin Minogue

    * Erin Minogue

    Bookseller Intern

    Erin is 15 years old and currently doing her GCSEs. She's a passionate reader and a former Bookseller intern.

  • Rick O’Shea

    * Rick O’Shea

    Radio Presenter, Ireland's national broadcaster RTE

    Rick is a radio presenter with Ireland's national broadcaster RTE, newspaper columnist, book blogger and reading advocate.

  • Rodrigo Raimundo-Ramos

    * Rodrigo Raimundo-Ramos

    Ambassador on Movellas

    Rodrigo is 13 years old. He is an Ambassador on Movellas and winner of Hidden Powers: A Fantasy Writing Competition. He loves YA books because of the range of emotions and diversity in all of them.

  • Philip Reeve

    * Philip Reeve

    Philip Reeve, Author

    Philip Reeve is the author of the award-winning Mortal Engines series and Here Lies Arthur, which won the Carnegie Medal in 2008. He has collaborated with illustrator Sarah McIntyre to create Oliver and the Seawigs and Cakes in Space, and is writing a new YA novel.

  • Rosianna Halse Rojas

    * Rosianna Halse Rojas

    Vlogger and assistant to author John Green

    Rosianna is an award-winning video-blogger at with over 4 million video views. Since 2006, she has vlogged regularly about her favourite books, including a wide range of YA titles. Rosianna lives in London where she works remotely for American YA author John Green.

  • Imogen Russell Williams

    * Imogen Russell Williams

    Freelance journalist and children’s/YA book expert

    Imogen Russell Williams writes about classic and contemporary children's literature for the Guardian Online, and reviews books for the Metro newspaper. She also works as an editorial consultant, specialising in middle grade and YA fiction.

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