Sometimes it feels like the whole of UKYA is a shit-show that cares for nothing but making money.
In some aspects, that is true.
It’s like a bull in a packed china shop- hellbent on freedom without care to its surroundings. Plates get smashed, and shelves crumple and the bull gallops off, leaving disaster behind him. After all, if you can sell a few copies of a problematic book and use the controversy as a marketing scheme, then who really cares whose feelings are hurt?
I’m not even going to go into detail about certain authors because honestly they don’t deserve the name calling and the promotion they would get from me talking about their book.
Instead, I’m going to direct you towards the gems amongst the coals, the diamonds in the rough.
The UKYA authors who are sweet babies that we must protect at all costs. Promote their books, uplift their voices. After all, I might not be able to stop the bull from ruining everything around him- but I can take a few valuable plates away from the mess. I’ll rescue all that I can carry.
Tasha Suri – Empire of Sand & Realm of Ash
Of course Tasha was going to make an appearance on my list. I own 4 copies of her book, am obsessed with her and she’s the sweetest person ever. She truly cares about every single reader and is such an important voice in UKYA. She never stays quiet on the big issues and is willing to use her following to promote marginalised voices and support other writers and readers however she can. Her book, Empire of Sand, is an own voices Mughal-inspired epic fantasy which will absolutely break your heart. I haven’t been the same since reading it, and I’m so excited for her second book.
Akemi Dawn Bowman – Starfish, Summer Bird Blue & Harley In The Sky
Akemi is a sweet precious person who must be given everything she ever wishes for. She has this amazing ability to tear you apart with her writing and then build you back up piece by piece. Even if you don’t quite connect to the different emotional themes of her books, there’s always some part you can relate to. She creates stories where the characters that are so believable, so perfectly shaped that they seem real. Her books are completely world-shattering and you think that would suggest that she’s completely evil or at least a little dark, but she also just so happens to be the kindest person that ever existed.
V. E Schwab – A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, A Conjuring of Light, Vicious, Vengeful, This Savage Song, Our Dark Duet, The Near Witch, The Archived & The Unbound.
Victoria isn’t completely the perfect picture of UKYA, but since buying a house inn a Edinburgh and touring round the country more than a few times, she’s one of the biggest authors we’ve got and I’m going to claim her as our own despite her American roots. If you haven’t heard of her books, firstly: they are epic, secondly: THEY ARE EPIC. I stan her as a queer adorable queen of fantasy, and she truly rules my life. I would happily bow down if she decided to use her power as a best selling author to take control of the entire world. (She has the brains to do it!)
Faridah Àbíké-Íyímíde – Ace of Spades
Faridah’s book is coming out next year, and I believe she embodies the very future of UKYA. That’s a lot of pressure to put on her book though, but I have very high expectations and I’m desperate to get my hands on her debut book.
Alexandra Christo – To Kill A Kingdom & Into The Crooked Place
I don’t think enough people appreciate Alexandra as a UK author. She’s not on any UKYA Goodreads lists, but I know for a fact she lives in London. I met her last year at YALC in a really awkward fashion (meaning I almost bumped into her, recognised her and then squealed slightly) and she was totally sweet about it. Her book, a creepy retelling of Little Mermaid involving sirens and death was one of my favourite reads of last year aND HER THE RELEASE DATE FOR HER NEXT BOOK IS INCHING CLOSER.
Whilst these are just a handful of the goodness mixed in with the bad (and don’t worry, there are plenty more authors I could have talked about) but, for me, these are the ones carrying the beautiful part of UKYA on their shoulders. They inspire the strong community of book lovers and bloggers, make appearances at amazing UK events and are just the sweetest people you could ever find. (I feel like I’ve said that a million times bUT IT’S TRUE).
I didn’t want my list to be dominated by contemporary authors (like 90% UKYA actually is) which is why some of the classics aren’t on here (for example, Alice Oseman who is also pretty lovely) and really I just wanted to boost some under-rated or under-appreciated genuinely nice people.
I want to thank them for being the backbone of UKYA (for me, anyway) no matter how much the bones shake and illness hits the body.
And there’s a lot of sickness going round.