Archives for posts with tag: Patrick Ness

Published in the UK by Macmillan Children’s books, in the US, by Scholastic

I read the proofs publishers send me without reading their blub. This is essentially to ensure that I don’t start a story with any preconceived ideas. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised (a cover can be very misleading), sometimes disappointed.

I read this proof over 24 hours or so. It had a rather simple cover, just a drawing of a skeletal hand reaching up towards the night sky. Simple and effective.

The story reminded me a little of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. It left me in tears at work as I read the last few pages. Then again, I am a bit of an emotional wreck at the moment, post Pakka. That said, it is beautifully written and quite superb and as I explained to a mother and daughter recently, sometimes books that make you cry are the best books and shouldn’t be avoided.

Enjoy this, simply and beautifully written story of life and everything that goes with that – and if you haven’t read A Monster Calls read that too…

Sadly Kim Ventrella lives in Oklahoma City and so isn’t available for events…it would be superb if she were…. Looking for pictures of the cover, I came across the one above which is ‘connected’ (I don’t know what the correct term is) to Kim’s Internet site – I assume the dog is hers…he looks rather lovely. The cover above is the one Scholastic are using for their American edition of the book – to be honest I hope ours is similar to the design on my proof – more in tune with story…with a hint of darkness…

The Macmillan edition is out on the 21st of September 2017

Advertisements

I have been selling books for over 20 years with Waterstones. They say I have become an ‘Expert’ in Children’s books. A title that really means very little to me.

What does, I have recently realised, are my customers and more importantly my younger customers, especially those that I influenced enough for them to begin to enjoy books.

It is what they say and do that matters.

The following, in no order what so ever, stand out for me when I look back over the last two decades. This is not in any way a comprehensive list – just some of the highlights that I have so enjoyed over the years.

Thank you.

The author and teacher who introduced me with such pride to his husband.

The bright enthusiastic girl who so loved her reserved books on Vikings, & gave me a cuddle.

The boy who lost his Lego mini-figure and was so overcome when I ‘felt’ the packets and found a new one; wrapping his arms around my neck, his legs, around my waist.

The girl whose father claimed she ‘would never finish anything’, and wouldn’t buy her the kit; who fired her finished Leonardo da Vinci catapult down the store a week or so later.

My regulars who return asking for more books for their children, who seem to have suddenly begun to have the reading bug.

‘My’ Russian customer, his wide grin, and unpronounceable name.

The American who wanted to take home the next unpublished Harry Potter in his suitcase. ‘You have some hidden in the back.’

The mother who came to say she had seen the film, A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness) after reading my post, and was so moved by it.

My Dorset customer, passionate about all things Persian, who bought around a thousand pounds worth of books from me, almost on a monthly basis, who has now become a friend.

The owls I arranged to visit Harrods at the penultimate Harry Potter event.

The queen,

yes the queen,

who bought a copy of the

picture book Tadpole’s Promise for her husband.

The Sussex House event with Linda Davies, and her longbow; celebrating Longbow Girl.

Sgt. from Sussex House, quiet, kindly, wonderful, but with such authority.

Selling almost 1,000 pounds of The Undrowned Child (Michelle Lovric) in Harrods.

The man who bought a copy of The Undrowned Child even though he only wanted a book on accounting.

The man who bought another copy, when he had just come in to buy an English version of the Koran.

The Sussex boy, ‘Hop-a-long’ who came to an event in a shopping trolley.

The small boy who came to say he had broken a plastic stand.

The father who apologised for his ‘feral children’.

The teachers who have become such good friends.

The elderly couple who bought their Christmas books for their family every year in Harrods – the list of their relatives, ages and details neatly inscribed on the cardboard taken from a cereal packet.

The Sussex House boys.

The lady who insisted on double bagging her books, and wanted copies ‘not touched’ by human hands, and has now become a rather extraordinary friend.

The various children who have returned to tell me how much they have enjoyed the last book I sold them.

The Sussex boys from Sussex House and how they have welcomed me into their school.

The boy with autism, who made friends with me.

The customers who ‘followed’ me from Harrods to Finchley Road O2 . Every winter one elderly couple travelling to the store; a very different environment for them. Just because I happened to work there now.

The Sussex events in store, a high light, initially a very reserved author Lynn Reid Banks and her phenomenal rendition of The Green Eye of the Yellow God by Milton Hayes.

The hopeful father who came to buy a book for his child, aged 7, but didn’t know what he was interested in. Only to admit after we had gone through several titles, that the boy was just seven weeks old.

Being taken to see the play Private Peaceful with Sussex House.

The little girl with downs syndrome who suddenly left her carer and came and stroked my arm.

The Sussex House boys’ response to an event with bottles of smells to inhale – a truly raucous event.

Maya Leonard celebrating Beetle Boy with an event in store and her brilliant Ballroom Event with Sussex House.

The man who came and bought all the Biggles books we had in stock – just because I admitted that perhaps they weren’t particularly politically correct and why.

The customers who have asked for a suggestion for one or two books, who have left with a pile tucked under their arms and bags in their hands and grins upon their faces with excited children ‘at foot’.

Lastly, the mother who came to thank me and tell me of her dyslexic son, who after advice from me, started with Barrington Stoke and was introduced to good stories.

Who recently returned home to talk to his mother about the book he was reading.

She was so pleased.

‘…his lower lip was quivering…he could hardly get his words out,’

she said,

‘…he was so involved in the book…’

to find he was reading The Northern Lights (Philip Pullman).

It is the people that have made this job a joy – who have made me grin, laugh and become involved. The books are another joy, but that is perhaps for another time.

This time is to say thank you – I wouldn’t be doing this job if it weren’t for you making that connection.

Thank you.

This is the film of the book.

Read the book, then go and see the film.

Both are emotional rollercoasters – both are extraordinary.

I feel that Patrick Ness & J A Bayona actually produced a film that honoured the book.

Strangely, the book also honours the film; but you do need to read it before you go and see it.

I cried when reading the book.

I cried, I think, almost throughout the film.

Not to be missed.

Read the book as soon as you can and try and get into the cinema with as few people in it as possible – I had five people at my showing at 17.50 in the early evening.

I don’t believe we disturbed one another.

A film that shows the power of anger and grief in such a way is a powerful vehicle.

Perhaps it was because this was a little close to me, that I found myself so involved, but, that said, I haven’t spoken to anyone else who hasn’t been affected by this film.

It is a pity that with all the sadness in the world that can’t be helped, that people continue to treat others in the way they do –

we should remember this…we are all people after all, and all feel and care, one way or another…

 

 

Published by Walker Books

This is a ‘good one’ as my colleague texted me, when I mentioned I was finishing it yesterday. That is an understatement. This is a story of a young boy and a monster that comes calling. Exactly what it says on the cover. It is an extraordinary book of hope and acceptance, love and bravery.

I hope that the film I am going to see on Thursday will live up to the book. I am concerned that this might not be the case. My friends, however, all say that those involved with the production of this film of this book are ‘good’, and to have hope that it won’t be a debacle.

I firmly believe that if a book comes out, and a film is then made of it – that you should read the book first and that the reverse of that statement is true too. The Hobbit, (the films) has small nuggets of wonder, (when we first glimpse Smaug and when he spins to get rid of the gold that was covering him, for example), but the films were in my view nothing to do with the original tale as Tolkien wrote it.

If it is worth making a film of a book, then the book must, therefore, be a good one. Why else would you do it?

I never understand why film producers should muck about with plots that the author was happy with when it was published. A part of the book which is intrinsic to the story – that story which was so good that it resulted in the film maker being interested in making a film in the first place. So I’m a little concerned. Never-the-less I have a ticket for Thursday and I hope, as advised, that this one will be different and will have at least the soul, the essence of the book.

If so, I will quietly cry in my seat, as I did in my lunch break yesterday, as I finished this extraordinary book.

I should have read this many years ago – but never got around to it. The film, I admit pushed me into going back to it now, and I knew as soon as I started it that I would love it just as much as I did The Knife of Never Letting Go.

This is not just a good one – its marvellous, full of heart. It is an extraordinary story.

Read it, before you go and see the film.

Image result for a Monster calls book walker books

Published by Walker Books / ISBN 978 1406331165 / Teenage – Adult / Not yet published: 27th August 2015

I am not certain, but I think I prefer this to The Knife of Never Letting Go (first volume of Chaos Walking – see review) – however, I think this is so different from that trilogy that I am probably comparing a kiwi with an English Cox, and so the comparrison isn’t fair.

This really is very different, not least because the stories (there are numberous stories in this book, really as many as there are characters) that you are involved in are not necessarily the main story – but then again they are.

It is an extraordinary volume and I loved it and will be texting my friend Min to tell her to read this one – I bet she hasn’t had a proof!

Filled with something that might be soul-eating ghosts, or perhaps zombies with blue lights and death, along with the everyday problems of a family, and friendship, along with those resulting from life changing opportunities and just trying to survive, each character has their own particular intrinsic worries and concerns…It really is a superb book. Enjoy it!

Published by Walker Books / ISBN 9781406357981 / Teenage

I read a particular book for many reasons. Some because a publisher has sent me a copy, others because I haven’t brought my current book in to work, and I’m desperate for something, anything to read, and some because it has been brought to my attention by a friend or colleague.

You have this review because of my very special friend Min Wells, who used to work with me in the bookshop and now works in another branch, much too far away.

She used to nag me about this volume. She said I would enjoy it.

My reply then was that I felt that younger children needed more help choosing books, and that adults and teenagers, on the whole knew what they wanted to read. It is astonishing how wrong you can be; everyone, it seems likes a review, or two. Another reason for my not reading as much teenage, I think is that they are often more intense and what you hope won’t happen, sometimes does. Though that in turn makes these books all the more powerful, dramatic and frankly good. After all life isn’t all happy endings and books should reflect this for older readers and sometimes younger too!

I don’t think I will ever forget The Knife of Never Letting Go. It is definitely one book in which I have put emotional time.

I started to read and found myself totally immersed in Todd’s and Manchee’s life. Now you want to know who Todd and Manchee are, I suppose. I will tell you two things: Todd is essentially our main protagonist and hero, and Manchee is his dog. Though in some ways I think those positions could be reversed.

Due to circumstances not greatly gone into, all the females have died out and the men are left, able to hear one another’s thoughts. Further they are able to understand the speech of animals. There is a secret, of which Todd is aware, but is not party to. It is an extraordinary secret. This book is about friendship, about survival, relationships and that special connection between a dog and his boy…

I will say this last – Manchee is the best fictional dog I have ever metaphorically met – because of his ability to talk his character is much more detailed than the others.

At various intervals there are pages of multiple overlaid script – of
different hands, filling the pages, showing the cacophony of speech that Todd can hear, when he allows his mind to listen to the noise of everyone’s thoughts – it’s a very clever arrangement; you can follow someone’s thoughts by reading a particular hand.

The second and last volumes in the trilogy are: The Ask and the Asking (ISBN 1406357998) and Monsters of Men, (ISBN 9781406358001) all three are in paperback.