Archives for category: Faber and Faber

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Published by Faber and Faber.

I am three quarters through this and I am loving it.

Alice Mistlethwaite has been sent to a boarding school in Scotland. It is unlike most boarding schools I have ever heard of (fictional or otherwise), however, there are similarities. Those traditions, that no-one outside the school know about, for example, which can trip up the unwary – and can affect burgeoning friendships. The groups of friends that fluctuate as promises are broken, and made. Where one might inadvertently help, or hinder another… those little vignettes of life that affect everyone living together.

This is wonderful. To quote page 137 and the start of chapter 18 – ‘This is a story of a girl who lost her mother, and her home and is afraid of losing her father and needed to find herself.’

It is also the story of two boys who make friends with the girl, who lost her mother. Jesse, whose older brothers tickle and tease him, and always loses the First Day Challenge and Fergus, the clever one, who sometimes just doesn’t think

Small incidents and phrases throughout the book have made me laugh.

One of Alice’s letters home ends with the rather wonderful statement

‘In Year Nine, we get to kill the hens.’

Stupendous – for everyone, boy, girl, adult or child – everyone will get something from this.




Published by Faber and Faber.

Max is a retiring sort of chap and spends much of his time making small intricate little models. His inspiration is the schools groundsman, Mr Darrow, whose models are perfect. His models are so detailed they include the stairs, and doorways inside the houses. So at every opportunity Max tries to spend time with him, learning how to add those all important little touches, however, his never quite reach Mr Darrow’s beautiful pieces.

Max goes to boarding school, and shares a room with another boy, who seems friendly enough, however, Max isn’t a great one for making friends. In fact he’s never really had one, but they get along well enough to share a room. Sasha is one of the cool pupils – with a crowd of friends always around him, so Max is a little cautious.

Max’s deafness certainly doesn’t help him make friends and he is used to being shouted at, which results in his hearing aids giving off high pitched wines…which are painful. When other pupils do make the effort to make friends with him, he is used to their drifting away, when he isn’t quite quick enough to respond. He can lip-read, but only if he is able to see them straight on…

This is a rather different story of another world. With elements of Gulliver’s Travels (Swift) & The Borrowers (Norton) – it is a story of friendship, war, and playing to your strengths…


There is also a pet flea named Excelsior in the book. What more could anyone want?

Published by Faber & Faber

This is a superb book – I started this yesterday afternoon, in my tea-break. Then continued reading on the way home on the train and then just before sleep. This morning I read it between having my shower and getting dressed, then on the train again, this time on the way to work. Sadly I had no time at lunch, but finished it this evening as I came home again.

The legend of Podkin One-Ear is related by a story-teller, one who tramps the lands to tell tales at times of celebration. The legend he relates is full of good old fashioned adventure, with a young rabbit, the son of a chieftain and his older sister and younger brother up against an evil taking over their world. At the start of the tale, he does have both his ears…

I can only say I loved it – was captivated by the story, which was enhanced by the illustrations by David Wyatt – just enough to give extra flavour to the legend.


This will be a classic, without any doubt. I usually pass on my proofs to local youngsters. I’m afraid this time, I’m keeping this one. Simply one of the best books I have read for a very long time, which is particularly pleasing for this age group. For them, there isn’t enough good writing, so I’m always pleased when I come across something this good for our younger readers…though anyone sensible, who is older than that will enjoy it too…

Published by Faber & Faber

This is Emma Carroll’s latest novel. It is set in the Second World War and encompasses the blitz, refugees, and evacuation – friendship, bravery and a little bit of luck – well more than a little. It will become a classic – there’s mystery and danger from the first page – it is a real page turner – a book that details the sense, and atmosphere of a very dark time in our history.

This is the first book of Emma Carroll’s that I have read – which is slightly embarrassing; five others are listed in the front, and her seventh book – The Lost Boy is being advertised in the back. Well written, edgy and engrossing. Superb.


Published by Faber & Faber.

I shall never think of mackerel in the same way again.

This is a beautiful book, unlike any I have read before. Billy’s ‘thing’ is Natural History, the strange and peculiar; the interesting facts about animals that make the subject so fascinating. His hero, is also one of mine – Sir David Attenborough, who makes regular visits to Billy in his daydreams, as his mind wanders away from life when he doesn’t want to deal with the more challenging things that it periodically throws at us all. He watches all David’s programmes, and he knows that he has all the answers to everything – to all the questions, he just has to listen and he will answer.

Billy is different, not the usual boy. Being different isn’t good, at least that is what Billy has found. His class find him strange and as Billy knows that isn’t always good in the animal kingdom.

Then a new boy arrives at school, another boy who is interested in Natural History. He though is different from Billy; he can’t swim, and Billy can. Patrick though, can do other things…and is willing to wait for his friend, when many others wouldn’t.

The imaginative text – which is so peculiar to the book is reflected in the use of typeface  – which along with the illustrations makes this very unique.

It is a beautifully illustrated volume – the book has superb free and paste-down endpapers and a lovely dust jacket with fish swimming on them – and one in particular, a mackerel facing Fish Boy on the front. It is handsomely designed and the pictures really contribute to making this a very special book – they make it more of a gift and rather special.

It has been published in hardback, but it would have been a disservice to both the story, design and illustrations if it hadn’t been. It costs a little more, but you receive more than you pay when you purchase such a volume.

Buy it.

Image: Anne Cecile

Faber & Faber

Alwyn Hamilton dropped into my branch a couple of days ago and offered to sign copies of this. I hadn’t been aware of it (apart from the very striking  cover), but was happy for her to do so – after all it is lovely to have a signed book.

I picked it up to read as a result and have had a glorious couple of days submerged in a desert world with immortal horses, Djinn, guns, magic, shape-shifters, adventure of the old style (and best), love, treachery, families, bravery, a hero, well one central one, and a wild ‘blue-eyed bandit’ heroine who doesn’t really know who she is, and of course sand.


An entity in its own right.

A brilliant story of adventure – atmospheric and full of heat, and sand – I can’t not emphasis the sand enough…

Quite extraordinary.

For reasons I have yet to find out, WordPress isn’t allowing me to use the URL’s to down-load pictures at the moment. So this will be posted from here at work (I’m writing this in my lunch hour), and I will add the picture of the cover on my day off – along with some suitably sandy and dune filled illustrations.

Sand is very important in this book.

On searching the Internet for the cover, I have found references to this being the start of a trilogy. If so, that is marvellous. I haven’t quite finished it (page 344 of 358) – and I hope this to be confirmed. Its brilliant.

28821294Published by Faber and Faber

I don’t know why, but it isn’t often that I enjoy American authors. I keep reading Erin Lange, however, so there must be something in her writing. This is very American, both in its use of English and story line.

It is the story of four teenagers whose lives become entangled initially through no fault of their own. It’s about burgeoning friendships, families, heroin, guns, corrupt police and a violin.goffriller-violin-f-hole-corner-sam-hymas

It is about a chase against all odds and finally about what is important.

Each character is the product of their history – each behaving the way they do as a result of what has happened to them before, and you slowly learn about them as the story becomes more involved and knotted…

I read it with intervals of work and sleep over two days or so – another Erin Lange (Butter and / Dead Ends). Another for you to enjoy too.