Clay by David Almond


Written by David Almond

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Clay is a gripping, powerful, moving and unusual story which works on every level. It is beautifully and plainly yet lyrically written, and comes straight from the heart of a multi-award winning novelist.

Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award and for the Carnegie Medal.

David Almond novels in order of publication: Skellig, Kit’s Wilderness, Heaven Eyes, Counting Stars, Secret Heart, The Fire-Eaters, Clay and most recently Jackdaw Summer.


Clay by David Almond

Davie and his friend Geordie watch the arrival of a new boy, Stephen Rose, in their town. He seems to have come from nowhere, and when he arrives to live with his distant aunt, the local 'loony', 'Crazy Mary', no one envies his new home. But perhaps, he's the answer to Davie and Geordie's prayers - a secret weapon in their war against the monstrous Mouldy and his gang? Intrigued, Davie and Geordie befriend Stephen. But they are heading innocently down a path that brings with it a monster of an entirely unexpected nature. Their encounter with the mysterious Stephen is as incredible as it is menacing, and as the true story of Stephen's past slowly emerges, Davie's life is changed forever.


"As you'd expect from Almond's previous novels, Clay is dark and thought-provoking. This time around, though, there's no neatly tied-up ending and no redemption. The evil is still out there." Philip Ardagh, THE GUARDIAN

"An atmospheric, weird, lyrical and completely engaging masterpiece whose faint echoes of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein just add to its power." - Graham Marks, PUBLISHING NEW BOOKS OF THE YEAR

"David Almond's Clay is a subtler, more literary production. The tone is set on page one, where the main character, Davie, dislodges a bit of communion wafer that's stuck to his teeth and then takes a drag on his cigarette. The story is set in Newcastle in the 1960s in a working-class Roman Catholic community. Davie befriends Steven Rose, a new kid in town. He's a strange boy with waxy skin, haunting eyes, a talent for making clay models and an original, not to say sinister, cast of mind. Halfway through, the story takes a supernatural turn - unexpected, but the atmosphere has been so well established that it's wholly believable when it occurs. This is a weird, haunting novel for teenagers, the kind of novel Graham Greene might have produced if he'd written for this age-group." - THE INDEPENDENT

"This is extraordinary storytelling, not beneath the attention of adult readers.
Nicolette Jones" - THE SUNDAY TIMES

"Like all great books, Clay contains tragedy, hope and a sense of right (or down-to-earth goodness) being wronged. It's a reminder, if reminder is needed, that David Almond is the very best author at work in the field of Young Adult fiction in the UK." - ACHUKA

"The climax of this strange, miraculous, beautiful book will make it a classroom classic." - Amanda Craig, THE TIME

"Another powerful and enigmatic novel from Almond." - WRITE AWAY!

"Almond's work... like the best literature for children, is in fact simply literature." - Erica Wagner, THE TIME

"Hypnotic story-telling, from the Whitbread-winning, David Almond." - LOOK AT A BOOK

"Takes readers into strange new areas of the imagination that are not - like so much children's fiction - fileable under 'childhood issues'." - Claire Armistead, THE GUARDIAN

About the Author

David Almond

David Almond was our Guest Editor in September 2011 CLICK HERE to see his choices.

David Almond is the acclaimed author of many award-winning novels for children such as Skellig, Kit's Wilderness and My Name Is Mina, and has collaborated with artists Polly Dunbar, Dave McKean and Oliver Jeffers on fiction for younger readers. David's books sell all over the world, and in 2011 he was the recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award. He lives in Hexham, Northumberland.

Click here to read more information about the author.

Julia Eccleshare on David Almond:

One of the best-loved and finest writers of today, David Almond made an immediate impact with Skellig, his first book. The moving story of a boy’s discovery of a strange creature in the shed which can be interpreted in many ways introduced some to the recurrent themes of David Almond’s writing. Infused with a touch of magic or the supernatural or ‘belief’, David Almond writes sensitively about the inner complexities of growing up. Much influenced by the landscape of Tyneside where he was brought up and still lives, David Almond’s books have a strong sense of place especially in titles such as Heaven’s Eyes, The Fire-Eater and Kit’s Wilderness. Although often clearly set in some particular time, there is a timeless quality to David Almond’s stories which give them enduring appeal.

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Hodder & Stoughton Childrens Division

Publication date

1st June 2006




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