2017 is year that’s asking us to question who we are. Where do we stand, what do we represent, who represents us and where do we belong.

Fittingly then, young adult authors, notably influential amongst their demographic, are confronting this subject in their novels and presenting real stories which are relatable, believable and challenging.

Patrice Lawrence’s follow up to the Bookseller’s Young Adult Book Prize winner Orangeboy, is an excellent example of the ways in which authors are using the genre to ask questions, make statements and represent their readers.

It tells the story of Indigo, a young girl who has been pushed from foster home to foster home after an array of issues arising from a trauma suffered in childhood. Indigo finds at every school she is the most Google-able student and because of that, everyone thinks they know something about her. The same is true when she starts at a new school and becomes the target of the ‘mean girls’. Preparing to tough it out alone, Indigo is surprised to find an ally in Bailey, the school’s music-aficionado. He’s also used to being the target of others’ jokes – he’s mixed-race and is known for his ginger afro, so he knows something of what she is going through.

What starts as a tentative friendship – interspersed with Indigo’s belief that at any moment Bailey will abandon her – becomes a teenage romance which is neither sweet nor simpering nor too over developed. Bailey’s proximity to Indigo sees her growing in confidence and in self-belief but it could also prove dangerous…

Bailey has been approached by a stranger from Indigo’s past who has information about a secret which could change everything she thought she knew… but is he well intentioned or is there something more sinister at work?

In this novel, Lawrence has managed to find the perfect balance between teenage-romance and teenage youth-culture and issues which makes it an utterly compelling read. With characters both complex and intensely likeable, this is a real page turner that holds a contemporary relevance and, if one reads just below the surface, both sheds light on and throws into question cultural issues of identity, belonging and a sense of place in the world.

A novel which is heartening and heart-breaking in equal measure, Indigo Donut is at its heart a story of transcendent friendship truth and a love of one’s city. A timely and thoroughly recommended read.

Indigo Donut is available now from Hodder Children’s