Tag: Judy Blume

5 1/2 Things I Wasn’t Expecting At YALC (and yet they happened)

1) Being sexually harassed by Spiderman
This is the only bad thing that happened! But, yes, while I was outside Kensington Olympia, trying to find the right entrance, I was accosted by a man in full-on Spidy get-up.

If I’m going to victim-blame myself, I did maybe initially catch his attention with my inability to not look at the…umm…bulginess of his skin-tight costume.
However, this is no excuse for him then grabbing said-bulge and then proceeded to tell me just how very big his bulge was and what he wanted to do with his bulge…before high-fiving the dude next to him, who was dressed as an American Cop.

But it’s OK (well it’s not OK, but it’s just about cope-able with) because…

2) The #BeingAGirl panel talk trending on Twitter
I was, unfortunately, too busy getting lost and sexually-harassed to get to this panel on time. HOWEVER lots of favourite authors/people (including Holly Smale, CJ Daugherty and Anna James) were on it, chatting all things feminism. And, it was so popular, it trended on Twitter! It’s so inspiring and reassuring to know there are so many YA authors, using their platform to fight for gender equality – especially if you’ve just been objectified by Spiderman.  

It made me feel super excited about all the upcoming feminism in Am I Normal Yet? and the rest of the trilogy.

3) How big my signing queue was going to be
I was completely and utterly blown away by how many of you queued to meet me. Honestly, one of the bestest most-humbling moments of my life. You don’t get much opportunity to touch-in with your readers when you’re an author, and you sometimes wonder if your stories are reaching people and touching people. To hear so many of you talk to me about Bree, and Poppy and Noah (and even Evie, for those of you had bought Am I Normal Yet? on the Saturday and had READ IT ALREADY!) made my heart melt. I love you all.


4) The very wise wisdom of my Mental Health in YA panel
I’m not going to lie. I was very, very nervous about being on the Mental Health in YA panel. It’s such a sensitive issue and I knew I had a lot to say. But I also know everyone has their own experiences of mental health, and you can easily upset people without meaning to. But I shouldn’t have worried. My fellow panellists, Matt Whyman, Annabelle Pitcher, Brian Conaghan and our chair, Imogen Russell Williams, were insightful and nuanced and just all-round fab.


I feel reassured there’s such a great gang of authors tackling such important stuff…and also pretty proud of myself to be included with them.
The one thing I said that seemed to get a lot of resonance, was this quote I found about hope during my research for Am I Normal Yet? Here’s a pic for those of you who weren’t there…


5) Judy Blume tap-dancing whilst yelling expletives
The definite highlight of YALC had to be seeing the GODDESS that is Judy Blume talking about her career. Like me, I don’t think many of the other authors at YALC would be writing if it wasn’t for Judy. So many of us were inspired by her in our own childhoods. And we all piled in to her event with Patrick Ness like excitable fans. She did not let us down. When discussing swearing in YA books, Judy admitted she loved using dirty language. “It’s very satisfying, a bit like tap-dancing,” she said. Before TAPPING HER TOES ON THE FLOOR AND REPEATEDLY SAYING F*CK F*CK F*CK.


…and ½
I didn’t expect these people to wander around the place, chanting ‘SHAME SHAME SHAME’ all day. But they did. And, to be honest. I was at ComicCon – WHY didn’t I expect such a thing?


Can I please come back next year, please?

Thank you SO much to everyone who came, everyone who organised, and everyone who made YALC such an unforgettable weekend.

My top summer reads!

I was pretty frickin’ chuffed this week to see that Sugarscape included Am I Normal Yet? in their summer reading list.

Summer is such a great time to catch up on your reading. It’s a win/win. If it’s sunny outside – HOORAY – you can lounge outside with a book. If it’s peeing it with rain – HOORAY – you can curl up under a blanket with a book.

Here are my top summer reads to get your through the turbulent British summer. I’ve included books set during summertime because that’s the sort of deep-thinker I am.

1) Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
I have been waiting for more Harper Lee since hope was BORN, and I cannot, cannot wait to get my grubby ravenous hands onto this. You know what? I’m not even sure if this is set in the summer, but I DON’T CARE. I’ve been waiting 50 years, I don’t need your rules.

2) Remix by Non Pratt
Reading this book was like shoving my face into a pensieve and re-watching my 17-year-old self go to her first (and only) music festival. You’ll fly through it, and find yourself conveniently forgetting that time you got piss thrown at you at Reading 2003 and want to buy a festival ticket. I also loved the fact it was about female friendships. Ten points to Gryffindor!

3) How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
This book just expertly captures how a teenager would deal with World War 3. Setting it away from the bombs of London, and instead in the hot summer of a sleepy British village, makes it even more creepy. Once you get over the slightly-concerning cousin-on-cousin sexiness, this book will grip you and stop you from breathing.

4) Just One Day by Gayle Forman
The perfect summer YA romance. Allyson meets Willem on a train to London and, in a uncharacteristic bout of spontaneity, decides to go to Paris with him for the day. Reading the year-long fall-out from this split-second decision is just….ergh…so gorgeous! And, when Allyson shoves on a backpack and sets off to track Willem down again, you’ll get major wanderlust.

5) Blue by Lisa Glass
A British surfing book? Hell yes! I’ve not actually read this one yet but hope to this summer. I’ve heard incredible things and it’s also being made into a movie which is FAB!

6) Tigers In Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann
If you fancy something a little bit trickier and a little bit more chilling, this acclaimed novel is worth the extra effort. Set over several summers spanning many years, cousins Nick and Helen struggle to recover from the brutal murder in the town. But is the murderer hiding in their midst of their giant summer house? You. Won’t. Sleep.
You also won’t like any of the characters, but that’s what grown-up novels are like.

7) Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
This dual-narrative book about two teens losing their virginity is just pure comedy brilliance. Like a slightly-more romantic book-version of The InBetweeners, you will fly though it and laugh and laugh and laugh.

8) It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane
I hate the term ‘chic-lit’. I think it’s a sexist tripehole of a word for a genre that doesn’t exist.
*gets down off chair*
ANYWAY – this book is written by a woman, and it is a romantic comedy, and it is really easy to read. It’s not chick-lit, it is just BRILLIANT. I cannot recommend this author – with her smart quippy female characters who care just as much about their careers and friendships, as they do about male-folk.

9) Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

10) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Summer is always a good time to re-read Harry Potter. Well… ANY time is a good time to re-read Harry Potter, especially if you believe reading certain books makes you a better person with a cleaner soul (which I do). If you don’t have time for the whole seven, this is the best one. I am willing to debate you on this.

What are you looking forward to reading this summer? Tweet me at #100DaysofNormal or @holly_bourneYA.