Guest Post UKYA

UKYA FORTNIGHT: Guest post by Amber Kirk-Ford from The Mile Long Bookshelf

I am super excited to be sharing this guest post with you today. Amber runs The Mile Long Bookshelf which is one of my favourite blogs. I’ve assured her that this guest post is brilliant and I’m sure you’ll all think the same; it’s her first guest post!

I know a lot of people are firmly against books with difficult subjects, for example books that may revolve around cancer, bereavement, mental illness or abuse. But I would really like to see more of these subjects in UKYA books!

Reading them can help you to relate to people you know who might be going through similar things, and understand what might be happening to them/how they may be feeling. These are subjects that are difficult to talk about, so having them covered in books that are easy to access for young people is really important.

I have read a few articles that refer to these books as ‘sick-lit’, which is quite a horrible derogatory term in my opinion. People think that reading about these subjects encourages us to do things like self harm, when that really isn’t the case at all. If these subjects aren’t written about, how will young adults ever learn to be comfortable with them?

Some amazing UKYA books I’ve read that touch on these subjects are Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce, Pretty Little Thirteen by Liz Coley and….I can’t think of any others. Just goes to show that there really aren’t that many books out there that deal with these things.

What are everyone else’s thoughts on this?


Amber is the 14 year old book blogger behind The Mile Long Bookshelf. She enjoys reading, writing, drawing and basically anything creative! When she is older she wants to be a freelance journalist. She loves YA books and her favourite authors include Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, Luisa Plaja and Cat Patrick.

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  • Reply
    Rachel (Booktastic Reviews) :D
    25 July, 2013 at 10:00 am

    This is a great guest post! I definitely don’t think that these sort-of books should be referred to as ‘sick-lit’ – they should be cherished! Authors have taken their time to approach delicate subjects in their YA books that they feel teenagers should be aware of. John Green’s quite famous for it!

    An amazing UKYA book that comes to mind is Cat Clarke’s Entangled. Well, I *think* she lives in the UK! *goes away to check* Yeah, she does! 😉

    • Reply
      Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
      25 July, 2013 at 10:09 am

      I really really really wanted to mention The Fault in Our Stars but John Green isn’t British 🙁

      Ooh I’ve read Entangled, I completely forgot! 😀

  • Reply
    Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
    25 July, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for asking me to participate in your UKYA Fortnight! Really enjoyed writing this post. 🙂

  • Reply
    Zoe Crook
    25 July, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    SLOTHY! AMBER! I totally agree with everything you said. Books being referred to as sick-lit is really bad – UKYA should touch upon it more. John Green (I know he’s not a UKYA author, but still) writes about homosexuality, cancer etc and he is an amazing writer. Entangled and When I Was Joe are great books for this too.

    Thanks for the great guest post 🙂

    • Reply
      Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
      25 July, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      SLOTHY! ZOE! Thank you! Ooh I’ve read When I Was Joe too, but that was years ago. I think UKYA could really do with some new books like this. 🙂

  • Reply
    25 July, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Have you read Before I Die by Jenny Downham? Kinda similar to TFIOS but a bit grittier. And British. Personally, I’m not a fan of these sort of books but I absolutely think they have value and should be published and we should have more of them. Great post!

    Cait x

  • Reply
    Debbie Turner
    25 July, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply
    Debbie Turner
    25 July, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Great post Amber! I love ‘sick-lit’ and totally agree that we should be promoting it MORE, not hiding it! Other ones I can think of is Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher and Tabitha Suzumas books!

    • Reply
      Amber @ The Mile Long Bookshelf
      25 July, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Thanks Debbie! Ooh I haven’t read Ketchup Clouds but lots of blogs have given it positive reviews. Must check it out!

  • Reply
    25 July, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Good post. Books with serious subjects like this are dealt with in abundance in adult novels, think Jodi Picoult for one really famous example. You are right, more should be appearing suitable for the UKYA market. I recommend Julie Bertagna’s book, The Opposite of Chocolate, which deals with teen pregnancy, and Junk by Melvin Burgess. Both UK authors!

  • Reply
    17 May, 2016 at 1:34 pm


    this is really nice post


  • Reply
    3 February, 2018 at 6:25 am

    We appreciate your suggestion!

  • Reply
    5 February, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Thank you for your thorough research and clear writing.

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