About Titles and Authors 2019
Dangerous Games, by James Butler
Kevin’s older brother Adam has turned into a bad guy since their Da died – he and his mates burn out a car they’ve stolen, trash the local community centre, and to cap it all, Kevin finds a gun under the floorboards. And then there’s Uncle Davy, just out of prison and already back to his old habits. When Kevin meets another kid who’s lost his dad, a new friendship forms – but both boys soon find themselves caught up in a seriously dangerous game.
This tightly plotted and absorbing novel follows the story of Kevin – a likeable teenager but unlikely hero – who gets caught in a web of crime and deception. Set in working-class Ireland with true-to-life characters and relationships, this pacey and action-focused book will get any teenage boy reading.
A Girl Called Justice, by Elly Griffiths
After the death of her mother, Justice, goes to boarding school at Highbury House, a dark, foreboding place set in isolation on the moors. On her first day there she hears about the mysterious death of a member of staff and she sets out to find answers to the mystery. She makes friends in her dormitory group and gradually settles into school life. Drawn more and more into mystery when a second death occurs, her investigations involve night time explorations, suspicions around some of the school staff, and carefully compiled notes. A heroine determined to succeed in her sleuthing …..!
Hope is Our Only Wing, by Rutendo Tavengerwei
With a title remindful of Emily Dickinson’s poem about hope, this novel tells the story of fifteen-year-old Shamiso, grief-stricken and confused after her father’s mysterious death in a car crash, who moves with her mother from England to Zimbabwe in order to pick up the pieces, returning to an extended family and a world she hardly remembers. A friendship blossoms between Shamiso and Tanyaradzwa, a classmate whose life has been turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis. Set against the increasingly uncertain political situation in Zimbabwe, Tanyaradzwa helps Shamiso confront her fear of loss and gives her the strength to ask the burning question: What really happened to her father? This is a book about adolescence, friendship and the capacity for courage.
Enchantée, by Gita Trelease
In the throbbing mix of a vibrant Paris on the brink of revolution, Camille and her sister Sophie find themselves orphaned, exploited by their abusive brother, in danger of being evicted, and with little or nothing to live on. Camille turns to the magic she had learned from her mother to turn metal into coins but when that is not enough she moves on to the stronger magic of disguise and heads to the palace at Versailles where she can use her magic to win at the gaming tables.
All the while, she meets and falls in love with the handsome Lazare, a Frenchman of coloured background who is trying to get his balloon project underway. When he turns up at Versailles, Camille is puzzled to find that he is of noble background and is afraid he will discover her secret. The plot reaches a climax in the very days when Paris falls over the edge into rebellion and the old ways at Versailles are on the way out.
The Burning, by Laura Bates
The Burning tells the story of fifteen-year-old Anna who has moved to a small Scottish village with her mother to escape her old life and start anew. Anna believes there is nothing to trace Anna back to her old life… but the whispers start up again and the bullying at school begins. Anna finds herself drawn to the tale of Maggie, a local girl accused of witchcraft centuries earlier. A girl whose story has terrifying parallels to Anna’s own and the parallels between the persecution of medieval witches and the social burning of modern day Anna become very apparent. The Burning has been hailed as a book about revenge porn and sexual shaming that will speak loudly to young adult readers.
Tuesdays Are Just as Bad, by Cethan Leahy
Struggling with loneliness and sadness, teenager Adam attempts to return to “normal life” after a suicide attempt. He wakes up in hospital with a ghostly companion that only he can see and hear. As Adam tries to work through his recovery, the ghost is with him, and acts as the narrator to this story. Adam makes new friends through his counselling sessions and starts to feel happy again, but his ghost companion becomes jealous, and catastrophic results ensue! Leahy is credited with dealing with a very difficult subject matter in a sensitive and accessible way.
Night of the Party, by Tracey Mathias
Night of the Party is a very timely Brexit-inspired young adult political thriller. In a near future dystopian Britain, Ash and Zara fall in love. Britain is ruled by the Party which has introduced ultra right wing, nationalist policies, including the British Born (BB) rule by which only those born in Britain have the right to live there. Anyone else is an “illegal”, subject to immediate arrest and deportation. Failing to report “illegals” is a crime. Ash is BB and safe, but Zara is not. As the country prepares for an election, Zara discovers the truth about Ash’es recently deceased sister and she must decide to either keep silent about the secret Ash desperately needs to know, or reveal the truth and risk her safety and future.
The Hurting, by Lucy Van Smit
Nell’s sister Harper is ill and her father has brought them to Norway so that Harper can have the best chance of recovery. Tired of her father’s alcoholism and of having to be her sister’s carer, Nell becomes attracted to a boy (Lukas) that she meets by chance. Soon she is madly and blindly attracted to him and allows herself to be manipulated into kidnapping Lukas’s brother Pup. After kidnapping the child she embarks on a heart-stopping adventure through the wild Norwegian landscape ….. This is a tense, suspense-filled narrative that treats such themes as romance; fatal attraction; deception; family relationships; alcoholism; religion; serious illness; and making the right choices.
James Butler’s background is in education and drama. For many years he taught in a school in Tallaght. In 2005 his first play for children, Stuck in the Mud, was nominated for an Irish Times Theatre Award. Further work followed: in 2011 a play for teenagers, The Teen Commandments, and in 2016 a radio play, The Carpet Clown. His latest play, Scattered, explores the transition made by children from primary school to secondary. Butler lost his mother when he was ten years old and he says that as a teacher he was always aware of students who lived in a one parent family. He was also aware of how a good role model can make a huge difference in a young person’s life.
Elly Griffiths is the pen name of Domenica de Rosa, the very successful author of adult crime fiction, including the Ruth Galloway series. Born in London in 1963, to Italian-English parents, she grew up in Brighton to where her family moved when she was five years old. After studying English at King’s College London she had a variety of work experiences: working in a library, for a magazine and then as a publicity assistant at HarperCollins before becoming Editorial Director for children’s books at HarperCollins. She now lives with her family near Brighton and works in a writing shed in her garden. A Girl called Justice is her first book for young readers.
Rutendo Nomsa Tavengerwei lived and studied in Zimbabwe until the age of eighteen, when she moved to South Africa to study Law at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has just completed a Masters at the World Trade Institute, and is now working at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. In her spare time she enjoys writing and travelling. She has always loved to write and received tutorials from her father from the age of nine. Hope is Our Only Wing is her debut novel.
Born in Sweden to Indian and Swedish parents, Gita Trelease has lived in many places, including New York, Paris, and a tiny town in central Italy. She attended Yale College and New York University, where she earned a Ph.D. in British literature. Before becoming a novelist, she taught classes on writing and fairy tales. Along with her husband and son, Gita divides her time between a village in Massachusetts and the coast of Maine. Enchantée is her debut novel.
Laura Bates is a British feminist writer published widely in the UK. She is the founder of the Everyday Sexism Project—a crowd-sourced collection of stories from women around the world about their experiences with gender inequality. She spends her time travelling the UK and hearing testimonies from young girls who have experienced sexist behaviour. This novel is a fictionalisation of her findings. Bates was named one of Huffington Post’s Most Inspirational Women of 2012 and shortlisted for the 2013 Shorty Award in activism. Writing about the theme of The Burning she says: “This isn’t new; this isn’t something social media has created. It isn’t a problem that came with the internet. It’s about the way that we’ve always reated women and girls and the ways that we continue to treat them today”.
Cethan Leahy is a writer and filmmaker. He has written fiction books for middle readers, and short stories. His animation short “The Beast of Bath” was broadcast on national television and his short film “The Amazing” appeared in the Cork film anthology Cork, Like in 2013. His radio programmes, including children’s drama “Tales from the Fairy Fort”, have been broadcast on national radio. He has also contributed illustration work to Cork comics press, Turncoat Press.
Tracey Mathias grew up in Cardiff, South Wales. After leaving home, she studied history at Oxford University, worked as a teacher and in various office jobs, travelled, and studied anthropology, before pursuing her life-long dream of writing. When she is not writing novels, Mathias writes song lyrics for the Da Capo Music Foundation.
Lucy Van Smit
Lucy Van Smit is an artist, a screenwriter, and an award-winning author. She has lived in the United States and as a TV producer, and has made documentaries for Canadian TV about writers including Ian McEwan and Martin Amis, but always had the feeling she was a writer too. Van Smit began The Hurting during her MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She loves Nordic Noir herself. Writer for children, David Almond, encouraged her to draw on her Catholic background in her writing of the The Hurting. She currently lives in London with her husband and teenage son.