Saturday 11 May 2013

YA from my Youth with Hannah Love

I am really happy to welcome a lovely lady from the publishing world onto the blog today. Many bloggers will know the amazing Hannah Love, who is a Press Officer for Walker Books and has really built up a lovely relationship with the book blogging community. Hannah has written a brilliant post detailing the books that got her through her teenage years.
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My teen years weren’t actually filled with that many ‘YA’ books. Once I hit my early teens, I generally read adult books or clung onto childhood ones that I was attached to. That said, these are the real 'game changers' of my teens.
1.      Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
This book made me realise I’m a bit racist. Not that I think less of anyone who doesn’t look like me, but rather that I had never realised how society is just tailored for me as a white person. There’s a certain scene with a plaster that absolutely opened my eyes. Everyone should read this book and have the same realisation.
2.      To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee I saw this as a play when I was a young critic for a theatre. I jumped on the book, and I can truthfully say that it derailed my life. I fell head over heels for the unwavering moral integrity of Atticus Finch, decided I needed to be like him, and went to university to study law. I hated law, it was awful. What I should have realised is that I wanted to spend my life exploring characters as wonderful as Atticus. I switched to English.
3.      Deenie by Judy Blume
To be honest I could have listed any of Judy Blume’s wonderful books – she’s the literary equivalent of a snuggly hoody. Everyone should read at least one. I’ve picked Deenie, the story of a girl whose mother is desperate for her to be a model, but then gets diagnosed with scoliosis and has to wear a back brace. Worries about disappointing people and making your own life choices are beautifully explored, and Deenie was a talisman for me as I had back problems when I was younger, having lots of scans and my own worries about growing up with a twisted back.
4.      The Andalite Chronicles by K.A Applegate
It’s ok, you can laugh. This is a spinoff of the wonderful Animorphs series, which I was obsessed with as a child. This is the story of Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul (I still remember his full name but I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow), before he gave the animorphs their fantastic power, and was a bit of an older book. I had a bit of a crush on him when I was younger even though he’s a blue, four legged, scorpion tailed alien with no mouth. I adored him, and his undisputable but flawed heroism.
5.      The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
Do you know what this taught me? That fantasy can be a true, perfect escape. Not just fun, but heart wrenchingly beautiful. Most people are probably more aware of the cartoon adaptation, which is still pretty amazing as Beagle wrote the screenplay, but the book is pure, unfiltered magic. It’s actually so hard to describe, you just need to read it. It has one the best ever female characters ever written in a fantasy book. I wrote about this novel to get onto my Children’s Literature masters, though it’s impossible to say who this book is written ‘for.’ One of my all time, unshakable favourites.
Thank you Hannah for sharing these with us. I am quite intrigued by The Last Unicorn and I’ve now added it to my wishlist!
If you would like to follow Hannah on Twitter, then please click here.


  1. Ooh, I read a Peter Beagle when I was a teen: A Fine and Private Place; ghost story. I still have a copy. Little M had a similar reaction to the plaster scene in Noughts & Crosses as you, Hannah.

    1. I'm now on the hunt for a Peter Beagle book! I loved the books Hannah picked out.

  2. I am ashamed to admit I still haven't read Naughts and Crosses - I must correct this with great haste!

    Fab post :D


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