Archives for category: 2018 February

Published by Chicken House (February 2018)

Are you proper, or have you been constructed, made to do a job. Do you need to sleep? If you cut yourself, do you bleed? Do you have a soul? Or are you made of metal?

If you are proper, you are real – flesh and blood. If not, then someone, somewhere, made you. If you are adult sized, and look proper, but aren’t, then you are probably illegal.

This is a story of identity. Of lies. Belief and friendship. Gripper, Jack, Manda and Rob are mechanicals. Christopher though is different. They live with Absalom, who runs what amounts to being a junk yard, from which he resources much of his materials… Life is hard, but they support one another. There is time to make the odd snowman between bouts of work…

I haven’t got far with this yet – but it is superb. 148 pages in (of 329) – it has already given one twist, that I didn’t see coming…a twist that results in far reaching changes…

It comes out in February – buy it, and enjoy it….

I am reading a proof – the above illustration of the cover-to-be may not be the one that is actually used. So it is no indication of how good this is. Trust me. I know.

 

Published by Scholastic (February 2018)

A rather good story written in, sometimes overly, colloquial English, quasi American. So much so, it did colour the book for me, and not positively. I am uncertain as to where it is set – perhaps in the US, but it could just as well be somewhere imaginary.  It is written in the first person and tells the story of a girl’s search for her father. It is the story of a rather marvellous witch, and of course magic. Good against evil. School bullies and their stories too. Ghosts. It is the tale of a dog, with a wagging tail – brave and true.

It is a most extraordinary book. If the story hadn’t been so good, I’m afraid I would have found the English would have brought me to a halt. Mainly as I think we should encourage ‘good’ clear language for young readers, so that becomes the norm (particularly for exams and the like), and the more interesting, should perhaps be for later, once clear good English is the practice.

That said, there were some rather nice ‘nuggets’.

Then she told Ma the whole of Culleroy would think I was being raised by mudskippers.

… his spider-brown eyes followed me around. They were deep-set as if someone had pushed them hard into his skull.

Bird song floated up from the valley. I smelled the breath of the forest: all sticky pine and baked herbs and wild flowers and hot grass. Insects hummed and rattled and zizzied; bees gathered on giant bushes of yellow flowers as if they were dropping into their local diner for pollen shakes; ants march and lizards flicked their tails and butterflies slashed their patterned wings.

Perhaps the colour of the language, the use of it, fits the book – anyway it is certainly one to enjoy.

It is not for the faint of heart – dark, but also rather wondrous.

Enjoy.

I read a proof – so the cover probably isn’t that shown above. Though it might be – the proof had a black and white rendition of that one. So, just perhaps…

Due out February 2018

Published by Macmillan (February 2018)

Friendship. How far does friendship take you? Should you ever break a promise? Do we really listen to our friends? Do we take the time to join the dots and see what might be happening beneath the surface?

Bonnie, is a straight A student. Dedicated, organised and sensible. Her friend Eden, however, isn’t – but they fit one another. Support each other and when a promise is made, its kept.

When a friend, ‘goes off the rails’, it can be difficult to work out what caused it and what is happening.  So when the school’s music teacher becomes overly involved with one of the girls, the repercussions and results are wide ranging and distressing.

There are enormous pressures being a teenager. Social and academic – to do well in exams is to be successful. It doesn’t always follow. There is more to life than exam results – they don’t make you happy, however, as I said to a young boy today, who is obviously the apple of his mother’s eye – they do give you choices, and that can make you happy.

This story is about love, friendship, self belief, confidence and a mistake – a belief that one thing will make everything else fall into place. The trouble is happiness is made up of lots of things at the same time. Safety. Love. Security. Settled financial circumstances and a meeting of minds. It is rare for one thing to bring happiness – its a mixture of circumstance.

What is love? How do you know, that what you feel is the ‘real’ thing? How do you really know about the person you love?

This is a complicated, and yet simple story of hopes, dreams, love and friendship.