Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick
  

Saint Death

Written by Marcus Sedgwick

13+ readers   YA readers   eBooks   UKLA 2018   
Download an extract Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award

In a Nutshell: Gangs dice with death under the gaze of Mexican folk saint. A thought-fuelling thriller set in a gang-run neighbourhood near the border of Mexico and El Norte (America). The writing is poetically punchy. Exquisitely formed sentences are fired-off in smarting succession, and the juxtaposition of contemporary totems like Burger King buildings with the likes of folk saint shrines is smartly done. This is a richly layered novel in which important socio-political issues (gangs, poverty, corruption, migration, social divisions and dissonance) are made potently real through Arturo and Faustino’s predicaments. And alongside the enlightening Mexico-specific context, there’s much that is universal: friendship, loyalty, and searching for a sense of purpose. As paternal figure Siggy tells Arturo, “You just have to find out what it is you’re looking for.” Pacey and passionate, this truly exceptional book tells a tale that truly needs to be heard. ~ Joanne Owen

Synopsis

Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by Printz Medal winning and Carnegie Medal, Costa Book Award and Guardian Children's Fiction Prize shortlisted novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez - twenty metres outside town lies a fence, and beyond it, America - the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he's been working for. He's dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he's on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they're as good as dead. Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) - she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.

Reviews

I really enjoyed Marcus Sedgwick's strange and intriguing tale, told in rhythmical and compelling prose. David Almond

I read it in one glorious gulp [...] this isn't a larky read, although the heavy subject matter could not slow down the pace if it tried. [...] Sedgwick writes like a dream -- Alex O'Connell The Times

Bleak, choppy, switching freely between perspectives and languages, Sedgwick's book pulls no punches, and will leave the reader reeling THE GUARDIAN

A very powerful book [...] I believe it will easily raise awareness and inspire empathy because Arturo's story is so tragic. -- Tilly Lavenas Amnesty International's Country Coordinator for Mexico

Most similar in tone to Revolver, this is an incredibly powerful thriller, tautly written and timely, exploring a world of drug lords and gang warfare, migration and capitalism, and what it means to live in poverty. -- Fiona Noble The Bookseller

It's beautifully-written with a real sense of atmosphere, menace and tension The Bookbag

Saint Death is perhaps the first great anti-capitalist YA novel of the 21st Century. Teen Librarian

Exploring themes of migration, capitalism and social mobility this taut thriller, laced with Mexican folklore, will have you holding your breath until the shocking climax. South Wales Evening Post

A tightly plotted, dark and thrilling tale of crime, poverty and desperation, Saint Death pulls no punches in painting a horribly accurate picture of life for the poorest young people in Mexico, where savage criminality may be the only choice Book Trust

I think this is probably the most important book to be released this decade. -- Mandy Southgate Addicted to Media

...there's more to this book than just a gripping story-line it's an eye-opener regarding the conditions in which thousands of people live alongside the border. Our Book Reviews

Marcus Sedgwick's brilliant YA thriller Saint Death, describes a place in Mexico where rights violations make it impossible to live well with integrity Books for Keeps

I can't fully explain how important it is, how horrifically hopeful and sad it is. Just writing this review and remembering the book has me on the verge of tears. I can only hope you read it. -- Emily May The Book Geek

This is not a comfortable read, and not for the faint-hearted - Sedgwick points a finger at our indifference, and no compromise has been made to the brutal realism - but it is an important read. The School Librarian

In places Saint Death becomes difficult to read [...] but it's an important book and it made me consider issues that, up until this point, were easy for me to turn my back on. [...] In Saint Death, we see Sedgwick at his most raw, his most honest and, unforgettably, his most brutal. Writing from the Tub

This is also a really well-written and well-researched novel that draws you in and never lets you go. Please read it. Star Crossed Book Blog

Sedgwick did the right thing in showing the dark reality faced by Mexicans through their eyes, it made a change from what the media usually presents them as... Incendium Libri

Another gem from a prize-winning author, whose masterful delivery of prose will leave you breathless ... A quick-paced and addictive read for young adult readers and up. I loved this Inis

About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick

One of the World Book Day 2015 Authors Marcus was our Guest Editor in July 2010. Click here to see all his selections.

Marcus began to write seriously in 1994, and his first book, Floodland, was published by Orion in 2000, and won the Branford-Boase award for best debut children's novel. Witch Hill followed in 2001, and was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award.

The Kiss of Death was published in paperback in April 2009, and picked up a thread from his highly acclaimed My Swordhand is Singing (winner of the 2007 Booktrust Teenage Book Award). In between came what Marcus calls “my big one - a project I've been working on for so long my head hurts.” – Blood Red Snow White, which was first published to considerable acclaim in 2007.

2009 saw Marcus turn his attention to books for younger readers with the launch of a humorous new series: The Raven Mysteries, narrated by a grumpy raven, Edgar. Titles are Flood and Fang, Ghosts and Gadgets and Lunatics and Luck. The sixth book in the series, Creepy Caves, will be published in paperback in February 2015.

Marcus Sedgwick won the Branford Boase Award in 2001 with his debut novel, FLOODLAND. In 2007 MY SWORDHAND IS SINGING won the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and in 2011 LUNATICS AND LUCK won a Blue Peter Book Award. Marcus has been shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal six times. Marcus lives in Taninges, France.

In his spare time, he is also a stone carver and wood engraver and illustrates all his novels! Finally Marcus is also a drummer, and at the moment he plays in two bands: visit www.garrett-music.tv, and www.internationalbandofmystery.com to find out more.

Q&A with Marcus Sedgwick

Many of your novels are inspired by history and by myth and legend - have these areas always been a fascination of yours since childhood and if so how did this passion come about?

I love music, both listening to it and playing it (I'm a drummer). A day without music is not a proper day... I also love travel and try to travel as much as I can manage.

It was a single line, the first line in the book in fact. I'd had it for ages but didn't know where I was going to use it until the character of Edgar came along: "I suspect I may have fleas again".

Absolutely, and it was great fun. After writing a few hardcore goth books, it was great to let my hair down with these stories. And it gave me fresh impetus to go back to the next YA novel, Revolver, with renewed determination to be gloomy!

I write at the weekends, and mostly in the study in my loft, but also sometimes I travel to write - eg much of Revolver was written on trips to Sweden.

I started to write as a teenager a bit, but properly when I was in my mid-twenties. It took a few years to think it might actually happen!

The most important thing is to know your market! Who do you think your book is going to be read by? What else is out there that's like it? Are you writing something that will sell?

It varies from book to book but it's not a chore as I love to do research. It's easier than actually writing the things! For Revolver, the research spanned about 16 months, of little trips here and there and lots and lots of reading!

What was your inspiration for Revolver ?

Finding an empty shell casing on the pavement in St Petersburg. It was a long way from there to the finished book but that was the start of it.

What was your favourite book as a teenager?

Without question, the Gormenghast trilogy by Mervyn Peake.

If you got into Doctor Who’s tardis, where (or when) would you go?
Great question, impossible to answer. So many amazing things to go and see – the building of the pyramids, a Viking boat putting out to sea, Man Utd winning the European Championship in 1968…

Who would you choose to be if you could be a celebrity for the day?

Matt Bellamy on any day with a gig.

If you were invisible for a day what would you do?

I’m invisible most days, so nothing much would change.

1 - I have an embarrassing middle name, but I'm not going to tell you what it is
2 - I am learning Swedish
3 - As well as playing the drums, I play bass guitar
4 - My grandfather invented the hydraulic tipper truck
5 - I have a pet raven called Edgar, though he doesn’t say much, eat much, or indeed, move much. There’s a possibility that he’s stuffed, I guess.
6 - I’m extraordinarily sleepy right now.
7 - I represented England (Juniors) at Fencing.
8 - I totally love football.
9 - I'm allergic to red peppers
10 - I believe there is only one radio or TV station worth listening to: Radio 3.

Author photo © Kate Christer

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info

Format

Paperback
272 pages

Author

Marcus Sedgwick
More books by Marcus Sedgwick

Author's Website

www.marcussedgwick.com/

Author's Facebook Latest

Publisher

Orion Children's Books an imprint of Hachette Children's Group

Publication date

6th April 2017

ISBN

9781444011258

Categories


At @HHSHaringey we love @lovereading4kids because our pupils can practice reviewing & get free upcoming books before anyone else!

Helen Swinyard – Heartlands High

I love lovereading4kids because I’ve read amazing books I would never have picked up, and its opened doors to new genre’s I now love.

Harriet Cunningham

You give me age appropriate ideas of books I can read and buy for the children and find out what other children their age think of them too.

Katie Lonsdale

It’s really exciting to read and review new books, thrilling to see my reviews online and I love finding the final published copies on sale.

Sam Harper – age 10

I have told all my friends, family & teachers to see for themselves just how great the site is. Without fail, they are hugely impressed.

Alexander Boxall – age 11

We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

I love all the books they recommend & put up for me to review. I also love the fact that they give new authors the chance to share their boo

Daisy Pennock – age 15

It has introduced my children to books we hadn’t come across before. Real children’s reviews gives a great insight into what others think to

Lorraine Woods
Lovereading

Lovereading 4 schools
****