Sunday, 12 April 2015

UKYA Day: I ❤ UKYA



Hooray Hooray, it's UKYA Day!

This special day is hosted by Lucy over at Queen of Contemporary. Check out the awesome schedule she has planned for the day here, it's amazing!

This is my first UKYA Day as a book blogger and I couldn't be happier! So now, to commemorate this rather exciting and special day, I was asked if I could contribute a post about UKYA so I thought I'll bring you a post about why I love UKYA.

Story time.


I never knew what UKYA was up until last year, when my interest for book blogging hit an all-time high. I began mass-following book bloggers, authors and publishers on Twitter and tried keeping track of all book related news and it was then I came across Lucy's blog and YouTube channel. I never knew booktubing was a thing up until that point and I was really amazed that people around the world actually shared their love about books so openly and with so much passion.

Then I discovered #ukyachat, a fun Twitter chat hosted by Lucy where I got to meet tons of new bloggers, readers, authors and fans who were just like me - book crazy! I loved the experience and have joined in almost every chat since.

When I read about Project UKYA, something inside me clicked. So I dug a little deeper and discovered a whole new side to books and publishing. When I first heard about UKYA, my initial thoughts were 'oh right, they're YA books published by UK publishers, right?'

Wrong.

UKYA books are written by Authors born or currently residing in the UK (direct quote from Lucy herself!) and that fascinated me. I never once thought about the background information behind a book, whether it was UKYA or USYA or so forth. So as an aspiring writer, who lives in the UK, I was truly impressed by Lucy's passion and the work she does to promote UKYA books and authors. I realised there is a certain lack of publicity for UKYA, and like me at the beginning, most readers don't even know what it is.

Here's another tidbit.

Just the other day, I was scrolling through Goodreads when I came across a comment that really got to me. What was the comment you ask?

'UKYA Authors are bland.'

I shit you not. I was so maddened that someone could say such a thing, to so easily label off all UKYA authors just like that. And from obvious point of view, you could tell they read a few books that didn't work with them and immediately they thought it was okay to label all of UKYA as bland.

This comment made me realise just how important promoting UKYA is, that it deserves more recognition and love. More people need to know more about it to stop these kinds of judgmental comments. I most certainly wouldn't want people to immediately cut my book off of their TBR list just because they found out I am a UKYA author. I would feel like hell.

Let's move onto the more happier side of things! 

Going back, I don't regret the decision to support UKYA and reading more UKYA books. I don't regret becoming a book blogger. I found a community I fit into, I've made friendships that would last lifetimes, I've discovered whole new sides to blogging, publishing and writing. To be part of such an incredible community really melts my cold heart because everyone is supportive and so friendly. There is great diversity within UKYA that I love so much.

Let's move onto books! I read and discovered so many brilliant titles since discovering UKYA. There is so much out there, you have no idea!




1761764821933437The Blackhart Legacy trilogy was one the first few series I stumbled upon when discovering UKYA. I haven't had much luck with finding a good book about fae. Fantasy is my favourite genre, though finding an Urban Fantasy novel that I liked was proving to be rather difficult. But then I met and fell in love with Banished. Liz de Jager was also someone completely alien to me, all I knew was that she wrote this amazing book I now loved. And now she is one of my most favourite author's, a friend and someone I talk to quite a bit and we share a lot in common! When I met her, I felt so at ease opposed to my usual social awkwardness and that's a plus for me! It's incredible!




The Night School series was also new to me and after seeing it around on Twitter, I decided to host my own reading marathon specifically for this series. I binge read all 4 books that were currently out and devoured them within a week, and let me tell you. It was the best decision I had ever made. This series is now my all-time favourite, the books claimed the top spot in my list which had remained the same for years. Never in a million years would I have guessed that would happen. CJ is such a lovely woman and I instantly fell in love with her writing and characters. Again, she is someone I've met twice now and both times, I felt like I was speaking to someone I've known forever. That's what I love about UKYA authors!

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Non wrote one of my favourite novels - Trouble. This was also one of the first books I picked up when hearing a lot of buzz about it in the community and I was not disappointed. The book deals with teenage pregnancy so well and Non did an outstanding job in keeping the reader sucked in and entertained, all the while dealing with a serious topic that certainly needs more coverage in the book world. I absolutely love her writing and witty and charming characters she so deftly crafts. Her debut was one of the best and she's also one of the loveliest people ever! I cannot wait to read her future titles!




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UKYA covers so many topics and there are so many books out there that deal with certain real-life situations really well. One of these was Seven Days by Eve Ainsworth. Told over the course of 7 days, the book deals with teenage bullying with honesty. It was raw and moving and on-point. Eve definitely doesn't sugarcoat anything and it's such an important book that tells you a story between a victim and a bully. It truly makes you question as to who the true victim is and I think this is a book that the world really needs. Eve really outdone herself with this incredible novel!




21936988Did I mention I love Fantasy? Especially YA Fantasy. I read one of the greatest Fantasy books this year, one I'll definitely be remembering for the rest of my life. It was one of my most anticipated novels of 2015 and it increased my love for Fantasy even more! What's the book? It's none other than, The Sin Eater's Daughter by a very talented, Melinda Salisbury! I had no idea what to expect, and that was a great thing. Most of my favourite fantasy books are USYA and Mel's book proved that UKYA Fantasy is just as good, if not better than USYA! I really loved it.




And there are so many more authors and books that I've grown to love. So you see, I am very thankful for UKYA for introducing so many wonderful titles that brought me an equal amount of tears and joy, and for the wonderful authors who work hard to give us the best possible reading experience possible with their stories and writing.

UKYA Extravaganza, an event curated by Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery allowed me to discover even more great authors and books. But not only that, bloggers too! Readers and book lovers and 35 authors came together in one place and it was such a remarkable experience! The UKYA community do so much to promote UKYA as much as possible and it's truly admirable. I'm getting all tingly and emotional just thinking about it!

You can read about my experience at UKYA Extravaganza here.

There is just so much I love about UKYA, I'd be here forever if I listed down all the reasons. I'll conclude by saying a huge thank you to Lucy, because without her blog and Project UKYA, I never would have discovered this incredible community I am now a part of. There would have been a huge lack of amazing titles I would have missed out on, and I'd never have made so many good friends. I wouldn't have met and known so many fabulous authors! I am well and truly grateful.

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