The YA Book Prize launched in 2014 to award a YA title written by an author living in the UK or Ireland. It is the first prize in the UK and Ireland to specifically focus on fiction for young adults and addresses an important need for a prize in the growing YA and teen market. The prize celebrates great books for teenagers and young adults and aims to get more teens reading and buying books.
Through the tangled identity struggles of authentic characters you’ll truly care about, Alice Oseman’s Loveless extends an understanding hand to aromantic asexuals (people who experience little-to-no romantic or sexual attraction, also known as aro-ace) while guiding all readers through fears of being alone and dealing with the pressure to hook up. Moreover, it’s a thoroughly entertaining, gripping page-turner that shows finding happiness isn’t dependent on romantic love.
Georgia is desperate to experience her first kiss before she and her two best friends head to Durham University. After being made to feel “weird” and “disgusting” when she confesses to her peers that she’s never kissed anyone, Georgia seizes an opportunity to snog the one and only crush she’s ever had. When this goes spectacularly wrong in a scene that sizzles with tension and scorching comic timing, it hits her that “I hadn’t ever fancied anyone,” that the reality of kissing and romance “disgusts me.” But still she resolves to “try harder. I wanted forever love. I didn’t want to be loveless.”
At Durham, while still struggling to find love, Georgia finds new friends in her outwardly confident, sexually active roommate, and Sunil, president of her college’s LBGTQ society. Sunil’s compassion and personal experiences help her discover who she is, to realise that she’s not alone in not feeling sexual or romantic attraction. Georgia’s journey to discovery is far from smooth, though, with many friendship-threatening, edge-of-your-seat errors made along the way.
- Joanne Owen (LoveReading4Schools)
The prize is organised by book trade magazine The Bookseller and it is run in partnership with Hay Festival. The shortlist is selected by a team at The Bookseller and the winner is selected by a panel of expert and teenage judges, who are asked to pick the book they believe is the best-written and that they would be most likely to share with young adults.