Slightly belated post here but I really wanted to get my top ten books on my TBR list for autumn up!
Mango & Bambang: The Not A Pig (Polly Faber, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy, Walker Books) I haven’t read any of the books in the Mango and Bambang series yet, partly as they’re slightly younger than the normal age range I read, but Walker were kind enough to send me the first along with the recently released third book Tiny Tapir Trouble. A quick flick through shows just how gorgeous Clara Vulliamy’s illustrations of little girl Mango and Asian tapir Bambang are, so this charming collaboration has hit my must read list. (And yes, it IS probably pushing it a little to include it here given that target age range, but I can’t resist illustrations this cute!)
There May Be A Castle (Piers Torday, Quercus Children’s Books) – I’m saving the new Piers Torday for a little closer to Christmas, but it sounds fantastic! The story of Mouse, involved in a car crash on Christmas Eve and thrown from the vehicle to wake up in a different world acocmpanied by a sheep and a sarcastic horse, it is by all accounts a hugely powerful read about the way stories can change the way we see the world.
Henry and the Guardians of the Lost (Jenny Nimmo, Egmont) – I’m a huge fan of Jenny Nimmo’s, having growing up reading and rereading her Magician Trilogy (The Snow Spider, Emlyn’s Moon, and The Chestnut Soldier) which I think were the first books I’d read set in my native Wales. Since then I’ve also loved her Children of the Red King series, about hero Charlie Bone and his schoolfriends, and I’m excited for this spin-off from that series. This follows Henry – one of Charlie’s ancestors, brought forward 100 years into his future in one of the previous books – as he and his aunt go on the run after he receives a mysterious letter. It sounds intriguing!
Some Assembly Required (Arin Andrews, Simon & Schuster US import) – I love reading LGBTQ books but there’s no doubt that it’s easier to find lesbian and gay narratives than ones starring bisexual or transgender characters. Given this lack, I was happy to grab an import of Arin Andrews’s memoir about undergoing gender reassignment as a high-school students (I definitely hope it gets a UK publisher, having heard great things!) Coming of age stories are always a favourite of mine and the last YA memoir I read – Lucy Sutcliffe’s Girl Hearts Girl – was a really interesting read so I’m keen to get started with this one.
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Various authors, Stripes) – One of my aims for the year was to read more short stories and it’s one that I haven’t done too well with. However, I’ve just started this fabulous anthology of Christmas-set UKYA stories on the theme of home, and I’m so glad it’s been published! I’ve loved Cat Clarke and Non Pratt’s stories; there’s an incredible list of contributors including renowned authors like Melvin Burgess and Benjamin Zephaniah, UKYA favourites like Holly Bourne and Katy Cannon, and even a debut author, competition winner Tracy Darnton. Additionally, the collection is raising money for national homelessness charity Crisis.
Orangeboy (Patrice Lawrence, Hodder Children’s) – This urban thriller about sixteen-year-old Marlon, who gets caught up in a terrible situation after a date ends in tragedy, is getting fantastic reviews. I’ve met Patrice Lawrence and she’s awesome, and I’ve talked to her about the book and it definitely sounds amazing – but also a really emotional read, so I’ve been saving it for a time I feel ready for it!
Illuminae (Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, Rock the Boat) – I’ve had this one for a while and haven’t quite gotten around to it – I need to be in the right mood for sci-fi, especially space opera. However everyone I know who’s read it is convinced that I will love it, and I love books written as epistolary novels and the idea of ‘the effects of a computer virus unfolding typographically in front of your eyes’ sounds amazing! (That quote from the co-authors’ fantastic Big Idea post over on Scalzi.com)
Crooked Kingdom (Leigh Bardugo, Orion) – Six Of Crows, first in this duology, was one of my favourite fantasies for many years. In that book, Leigh Bardugo introduced us to the waifs and strays who formed The Dregs, a group of outcasts led by the cunning and terrifying Kaz Brekker. I quickly fell in love with the entire sextet, especially Jesper and Wylan, while Leigh’s worldbuilding is always fabulous and I loved reading about a different part of the Grishaverse, which she introduced in her excellent debut trilogy. The ending was a real cliffhanger, though,and I’m desperate to see what happens next!
The Last Beginning (Lauren James, Walker) – A follow-up to The Next Together, Lauren James’s scintillating time travel debut, this is right up there with Crooked Kingdom as my most-anticipated sequel for a long long time. The first novel saw four versions of the same couple, Matthew and Katherine, as they were reincarnated at various points in history. This book follows their relative Clove Sutcliffe as she tries to find out more about the mysterious pair – it sounds completely fabulous!
The Good Immigrant (various, edited by Nikesh Shukla, Unbound) – Having slipped in a younger-than-usual recommendation at the start of this post, I’m also breaking with my usual rule of not including adult books here because I feel so, so strongly that EVERYONE should read this collection of essays about race and immigration from British writers of colour. It’s one I pre-ordered and while I’m waiting impatiently to collect it from my parents’ house, I’ve talked to numerous friends who’ve already read it. The lineup is incredible – with particular favourites of mine including editor Nikesh Shukla, Bim Adewunmi, Chimene Suleyman, Salena Godden and my super-talented friend Wei Ming Kam. I’m assured that it’s a book that teens, as well as adults, will find an eye-opening read.