Sunday, 22 December 2013

Top 5 YA Reads of 2013 & Giveaway! - NOW CLOSED

I promised to do a giveaway if I reached 1500 followers before Christmas, and as I hit that number at some point last night, I am making good on my promise! Also, I think the Hello Kitty 10-colour pen I mentioned has caused such a stir on twitter that I'll be lynched if I back out now.

But I also wanted to write a post about my favourite YA reads of 2013 so I thought, why not combine the 2 things? 

Why not indeed.

It was so hard to choose which 5 books to put into the giveaway - there were so many awesome ones to choose from - but I wanted to give a good range of genres, so finally whittled it down.

SO. Here are my top 5 YA reads of 2013 - which you can win just by following me on twitter @el_kat and leaving a comment below! - plus a picture of the Hello Kitty pen so you can soak in the awesomeness. I'll choose one winner from the commenters this Saturday, 28th December at 8pm GMT. Open internationally. NOW CLOSED.

SKIN DEEP by Laura Jarratt

Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan's a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her; he can't imagine why this place shouldn't be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found...

THE GHOST BRIDE by Yangsze Choo

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

SPLINTERED by A. G. Howard

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.


She's got it bad, and he ain't good -- he's in her garage?

"I'm your biggest fan, I'll follow you until you love me..." 

Gonna have to face it: Jody's addicted to Jackson Gatlin, frontman of The Regulators, and after her best bud Mac scores tickets, she's front and center at his sold-out concert. But when she gets mashed in the moshpit and bodysurfs backstage, she's got more than a mild concussion to deal with. By the next morning, the strung-out rock star is coming down in her garage. Jody -- oops -- kind of kidnapped him. By accident. With a Curly Wurly candy bar. And now he doesn't want to leave. 

It's a rock-star abduction worthy of an MTV reality series...but who got punk'd?!

THE KILLING WOODS by Lucy Christopher

Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY.

(Blurbs and cover images all nicked from Goodreads.)

Don't forget: You can win all these fab books - plus the 10-colour Hello Kitty pen! - by following me on twitter @el_kat and leaving a comment below. Please leave your twitter handle with your comment (so I can let you know if you win.) One winner will be chosen at random on Saturday, 28th December at 8pm GMT. NOW CLOSED.

Merry Christmas!


  1. Ahh! I still need to read Splintered--thank you for reminding me!! Twitter handle @SusanFrancino :)

  2. Ghost Bride sounds intriguing. Will definitely read. Twitter @Rmkkclark

  3. Great contest! Laura Jarratt's By Any Other Name was one of my favourite reads of 2013 and I really want to read Skin Deep! :) Twitter @Jenny_books_art

  4. Splintered was already on my Need to Read list, but I will definitely check out the others! Twitter @seeredwrite

  5. I hadn't even heard of Ghost Bride and it sounds amazing. The others are on my TBR list. Wow, so many great reads!

  6. The only book familiar to me on your list is Splintered. I haven't heard or seen the others.. Maybe I need to expand my reading preferences. :D thanks for the giveaway!! Oooh.. 10 colors? Back when i was a kiud, i had one like that but it only had four colors.. @callmeteepee

  7. The Splintered cover is gorgeous. Really want to read it. @S_M_Johnston

  8. What a great bunch of books, would love to read. And that pen, well the kids I work with would just love to see me use that! @Suzanne Furness


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