The North Recommends: The Northern YA Literature Festival

The Northern Young Adult Literary Festival is a brilliant festival ran by UCLAN dedicated to bringing the publishing industry, books and authors to young adult fans across the North of England on 16 March 2019. This year the festival features a bumper list of authors and events – find the entire programme on their website. 


The Harm Tree by Rose Edwards (coming July 2019)

The Harm Tree is absolutely phenomenal. I was gripped from the very beginning and could not put it down. Rose Edwards magnificently navigates you through a kingdom on the brink of war and takes you on a journey filled with fear, grief and power. You fall in love with characters and experience their journey as your own. Brilliantly written and absolutely amazing!

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard

A companion novel to Sara Barnard’s Beautiful Broken Things, Fierce Fragile Hearts follows the bittersweet journey of Suzanne, a complicated 18-year-old learning to cope with her mental health issues following emotional childhood trauma.  Barnard’s voice is seamlessly authentic, brutally honest and unique throughout – much like the personality of her characters.

Although the issues in the book can be difficult to deal with, they are placed against a backdrop of young, funny, and relatable moments to make for a special book that will break your heart and then piece it beautifully back together again.

Oh My Gods! by Alexandra Sheppard

Alexandra Sheppard managed to successfully escort me back to being a teenager. I felt all of Helen’s stress at making new friends, embarrassment at her family and butterflies about kissing boys. It felt like a beautifully accurate representation of the daily struggles of being a teenager, with a handful of light-hearted Greek mythology sprinkled on top. I’m a sucker for any kind of mythology, and this book nicely interwove the most elemental aspects of key Olympian gods with the modern world, giving them all endearing personality traits without over-complicating the book with any history.

It’s a nice easy read that is unapologetic in its diversity, and gives a few interesting twists to classic mythology. The cover is gorgeous and I’ve found myself frequently thinking about it since I finished reading it. This is the exact book I wish I could have read as a fourteen year old, and therefore I would thoroughly recommend it.