Bestselling YA author Holly Bourne took the Hay Festival by storm when she travelled there last week to give a talk about her YA novel, Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

On Friday, she spoke to an audience of 1,600 people about the movement #KindnessIsContagious, mental health and how to survive in the society we live in today.

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? tells the story of Olive, who has gone back to the GP again, only to be told that the waiting list for therapy is months long…

With her family unable to afford private healthcare, she’s dubious when she’s offered to take part in a new mental health ‘camp’ for teenagers. But she’s desperate.

Put in the residential camp with other ill teens for a month, Olive’s told to start using a special app – one where she can log her moods and thoughts. She finds out the camp has developed algorithms to measure and predict a patient’s wellbeing, to help them prioritise support.

Olive’s obsessed with the idea of a mathematical formula to sanity. But as she hears the other people’s stories, she starts to wonder if it’s the world driving them mad. Is mental illness the only logical response to modern society?

Holly’s book signings also proved to be hugely popular, with lines to meet her reaching the back of the marquee…

Holly rounded up her time at the Festival in conversation with Bryony Gordon, bestselling author of You Got This, on Saturday, where they spoke about the tools teens need in today’s society to grow up happy. They covered topics like self-respect, body positivity, love, mental health and confidence, and Bryony shared some of the crucial life lessons she wished she had known when she was growing up.

Holly’s next YA novel, The Places I’ve Cried In Public will be published in October this year.

Holly started her writing career as a news journalist, where she was nominated for Best Print Journalist of the Year. She then spent six years working as an editor, a relationship advisor, and general ‘agony aunt’ for a youth charity – helping young people with their relationships and mental health. Inspired by what she saw, she started writing teen fiction, including the best-selling, award-winning ‘Spinster Club’ series which helps educate teenagers about feminism. When she turned thirty, Holly wrote her first adult novel, examining the intensified pressures on women once they hit that landmark.

Alongside her writing, Holly has a keen interest in women’s rights and is an advocate for reducing the stigma of mental health problems. She’s helped create online apps that teach young people about sexual consent, works with Women’s Aid to spread awareness of abusive relationships, and runs Rethink’s mental health book club.