Sunday 30 June 2013

YA Yeah Yeah 2013 Mid-Years and 500th Post Giveaway

I was planning on doing the YA Yeah Yeah Mid-Years, celebrating the best books released so far in 2013, next weekend - but the chance to combine it with a 500th post celebration seemed too good to miss. So, without further ado, I present the 2013 Mid-Years AND a giveaway! (Details at end of post.)

Best Supporting Character (Female)

3. Delphi from Curse of Kings by Alex Barclay - It's the world-building which I particularly loved about this one, but it also has a brilliant main character in Oland Born and a fabulous partner for him in the secretive Delphi.

2. Hana from Requiem by Lauren Oliver - Having enjoyed the first two books in the Delirium trilogy due to narrator Lena's strong voice, the switch to having her old friend Hana narrate part of this one threw me at first. I needn't have worried, though, because she's an exceptional character. She plays a smaller part than Lena but her voice is just as fantastic.

1. Larissa from Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill - Teen vampire Larissa is still one of my favourites in any current series. An incredibly well-developed character who gets more and more interesting as the book goes on. I also love her romance with Jamie, they're perhaps my favourite current couple.

Best Supporting Character (Male)

3. Cruz from Shipwrecked by Siobhan Curham - Love interest Cruz is smoking hot and the chemistry between him and Grace could almost set the page on fire.

2. Valentin from Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill - I think 99% of writers would be incredibly happy to have created one compelling vampire character; Hill might be thought of as greedy for having produced two of the most fascinating of recent years! The powerful creature who may be Department 19's best chance of taking down Dracula - if anyone can actually trust him - is completely fascinating.

1. Frieze from Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory - There was a time early on in Changeling when I found Frieze irritating. I was clearly a complete idiot during this time, because as I'd worked out by the end of book one, he's one of the funniest but also best-written characters I've read about for ages. In this sequel, if anything, he's better.

Best Main Character (Male)

3. Jack Samsonite from One Seriously Messed-Up Weekend in the Un-Messed-Up Life of Jack Samsonite by Tom Clempson - From my review at The Bookbag, "Jack himself is the main strength of the series. He's sweet (well, as sweet as seventeen-year-old boys generally get), good-natured, and if his overactive sex drive and a tendency to insert his foot neatly into his mouth gets him into some sticky situations, he's normally got his heart in the right place."

2. Archie from Geekhood: Mission Improbable by Andy Robb - I could almost have put Archie's Interior Monologue and Exterior Monologue down as supporting characters, they're so well done. As they're not actually, you know, characters, I figured I'd better just get him in the MC bit instead. A brilliant lead and I love his relations with his family and friends.

1. Dwayne from Black Sheep by Na'ima B Robert - While his voice was difficult for me to understand at first, once I got used to it, Dwayne - whose words "dance and jive and shimmy" became one of my favourite narrators of the year.

Best Main Character (Female)

3. Harriet from Geek Girl by Holly Smale - Utterly adorable, hard-working Harriet, who reinvents herself as a model but never loses sight of who she is, is fabulous. I can't wait for book 2, Model Misfit, out soon!

2. Jane from Tarzan: The Savage Lands by Andy Briggs - While it's still called Tarzan, by now, Jane is by far the best thing about this superb series. Plucky, loyal, resourceful, and completely fantastic, she's a stunning character.

1. Imogen from Bruised by Sarah Skilton - The narrator of Skilton's debut blew me away. A star Tae Kwon Do student who loses her faith in the martial art and herself after failing to stop a hold-up, she's truly incredible to read about.

Best Overall Cast

3. Drummer Girl - The girls in Crush, the people they meet in the music industry, their parents, and the various love interests are all brought to life incredibly well considering this is just one book. There's more character development here than I've seen in many trilogies.

2. LIGHT by Michael Grant - I can't list my favourite characters in LIGHT. That's partly because I want to avoid spoiling who survives earlier books for those of you who haven't read them yet, but mainly because they're ALL fantastic. As a gentle clue without giving anything away, I'm in awe of the way that Grant made many of the non-powered kids just as important and interesting as those with superpowers.

1. The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham - While I was originally going to limit the character categories to YA, Abraham's epic fantasy series is so good that it has to win this. Every character is brilliant, the switches between different POVs give us a superb insight into the heroes and villains of his world, and Geder is still one of the greatest creations of all time.

Best Adult Books - Yes, I do read them occasionally.

3. The Forbidden Queen by Anne O'Brien - O'Brien is incredibly consistent, always bringing her time period to life wonderfully. This tale of Katherine de Valois, Henry V, and Owen Tudor, is brilliant.

2. The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham - Speaking about incredible consistency, Abraham's The Dagger and the Coin sequence has had me hooked from book one, and gets better and better. Full of twists, turns, and outstanding characters, book four is perhaps the one book I'm anticipating more than anything else.

1. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell - Rindell's debut is indescribable, partly because I'm so afraid of spoiling it. She breathes life into Prohibition-era New York, riffs on The Great Gatsby, and brings us one of the best adult novels I've read for many years.

Best MG Books

3. Monster Odyssey: Eye of Neptune by Jon Mayhew - While the amount of sea monsters here are potentially likely to cause nightmares, this is a rollicking take on classic children's adventure stories.

2. Pea's Book of Big Dreams by Susie Day - Like the first in the Pea series, this is utterly charming. Again, it feels like a classic tale in many ways - echoes of Noel Streatfeild, in particular, as Pea tries to look for a new career ready for when she grows up.

1. Twerp by Mark Goldblatt - Goldblatt's tale of a young boy coming of age in New York in the Sixties is one of the most wonderful books I've read in ages. Julian 'Twerp' Twerski is a fabulous narrator, struggling to cope with guilt over one event he's not proud of and avoid talking about it, the other characters are great, and the setting is brought to life brilliantly.

Best YA Historical

3. Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein - Another tear-jerker from the author of the outstanding Code Name Verity, this companion book is just as hard-hitting.

2. Smuggler's Kiss by Marie-Louise Jensen - Fabulous character development for narrator Isabelle, who gives up on life and tries to drown herself until smugglers rescue her from the waves, and a brilliant romance make this well worth reading. In addition, the early 18th century setting is superb.

1. Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory - Gregory's second book in the Order of Darkness series, following Luca Vero as he tries to map the End of Days, noblewoman Isolde and their servants Frieze and Ishraq is even better than the excellent Changeling.

Best YA Speculative Fiction

3. Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill - As mentioned above, this has got two of the strongest supporting characters around in Larissa and Valentin, a fabulous lead in Jamie who has great chemistry with Larissa, and the rest of the characters are pretty great as well. Additionally, it's well-plotted, never drags despite it being pretty epic in length, and Hill's world-building for the series is wonderful.

2. Pantomime by Laura Lam - Another one I can barely describe for fear of spoiling it, this fantasy is outstanding. A must-read.

1. LIGHT by Michael Grant - Not just a truly superb book, but a truly superb ending to one of the best series of recent years. Stunning.

Best YA Contemporary (see YA Contemporary for my top 10 in this category)

3. Drummer Girl by Bridget Tyler - A strong plot, deals with lots of tough issues, and has fantastic character development.

2. You Don't Know Me by Sophia Bennett - A brilliant, life-affirming read, with a stunning climax.

1. Bruised by Sarah Skilton - "Tackling themes of violent crime, responsibility, disability, friendship, family and bullying, this is my favourite teen contemporary book of the year so far, and one of the best YA debuts of recent years."

As for the giveaway - follow @yayeahyeah (if you're not already) and retweet the below tweet before 11:59 pm July 14th BST to be entered to a draw to win your choice of ANY book from the Mid-Years!

Terms and conditions:

1. Entrants must be 13 or over.

2. Entrants must live in a country that The Book Depository delivers to. (Full list here)

3. To enter, entrants must retweet the above tweet. They must be following @yayeahyeah - new and old followers alike are welcome to enter.

4. Prize is ONE copy of the winner's choice of any ONE book from the YA Yeah Yeah Mid-Year Awards (subject to availability at The Book Depository or Amazon UK.)

5. Winner will be drawn at random and contacted within 1 week of the entry deadline. They will have five days to respond; if they do not respond in this time the prize will be redrawn.

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