The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine
  

The Ant Colony

Written by Jenny Valentine

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Shortlisted for the prestigious Teenage Book of the Year Award 2009.

An irresistible new novel from Jenny Valentine, winner of the Guardian Children's Book Prize with Finding Violet Park. Written with a wonderful lightness of touch, the author manages to weave and interweave the very different lives of a disparate range of characters - 15 year old Sam,10 year old Bohemia and her rather hopeless mother, Steve the landlord and a batty old lady - into a stirring plot that's by turns heartrending and sad but also laced with wit and humour and ultimately an uplifting ending. Quirky but cleverly woven and brilliantly written.

Titles on the 2009 Teenage Book of the Year Award shortlist were:

Auslander by Paul Dowswell

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray

The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine

The Vanishing of Katharina Linden by Helen Grant

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Synopsis

The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine

Number 33 Georgiana Street houses many people and yet seems home to none. To runaway Sam it is a place to disappear. To Bohemia, it's just another blip between crises, as her mum ricochets off the latest boyfriend. Old Isabel acts like she owns the place, even though it actually belongs to Steve in the basement, who is always looking to squeeze in yet another tenant. Life there is a kind of ordered chaos. Like ants, they scurry about their business, crossing paths, following their own tracks, no questions asked. But it doesn't take much to upset the balance. Dig deep enough and you'll find that everyone has something to hide!

Reviews

Praise for her previous novels:

For Finding Violet Park - 'Ultra-original and brilliantly written, this will have you laughing and crying too' Mizz magazine

For Broken Soup - 'A life-affirming, witty, romantic read' The Sunday Times

About the Author

Jenny Valentine

Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She has just moved house again, probably not for the last time. She worked in a wholefood shop in Primrose Hill for fifteen years where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic loaves than there are words in her first novel. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and a jewellery maker. She studied English Literature at Goldsmiths College, which almost put her off reading but not quite. Jenny is married to a singer/songwriter and has two children. 'Finding Violet Park' is her first novel.

I owe the showbiz name to my husband!

This is your first book, have you always wanted to be a writer girl and how did you make it happen?
My mum bought me a notebook when I was about nine that looked like a novel on the outside. I had to put the title and the author on the front and then fill it with a story. I knew then. I’m not sure exactly how I made it happen - I put the work in I guess.

What was your favourite book as a teen girl?
Such a hard question! I read a lot and I always wish I’d made lists of all the books I loved. One that stands out would be The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

For people who haven’t read your book yet - Finding Violet Park, what’s it all about?
It’s about a boy who finds an old lady’s ashes in a mini cab office and decides to find out who she was. He learns a lot of other things while he’s doing it.

Lucas is a great narrator, what made you write from a boy’s perspective?
No idea! He just jumped out, fully formed, in about the second sentence. I’m not sure I had that much choice in the matter.

Secrets are a big part of the book,what’s your biggest secret?
Good try!

If the book had a soundtrack, what would be on it?
Well, Lucas listens to all his Dad’s old records so there’d be some early David Bowie, some Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, maybe Rolling Stones. Then there’d have to be some piano pieces for Violet to play, Rachmaninov gets played at Lucas’s granny’s.Then Lucas’s own choices might be Sufjan Stevens, Will Oldham, and a song from my husband Alex Valentine’s record TARDIS HEART. It’s called SORROW and as soon as I heard it I said I’d want it in a soundtrack if I was ever lucky enough to get one.

Apart from your own, what’s your favourite book for teens?
Holes by Louis Sachar. I love that book. I think it’s perfect.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?
Finding the exact word you’ve been searching for.

Do you have a writing routine, Jenny? Tell us about it…
Well it’s very un-HELLO! I drink coffee, I have a walk by the river with our dog, I sit down and I re-read some of what I did the day before. Then I get going. Sometimes I look up and three hours have gone by, sometimes it’s like getting blood out of a stone. I think it helps to have no routine at all, just to go with it, see how it’s working.

What’s next in the world of JV?
I’m working on my next book. It should be out next year. I can’t tell you what it’s called yet because I don’t know. I’m very indecisive.

The colour pink. Discuss.
Let’s see… bubblegum, fake fur, rose petals, cold noses, underwear, marshmallows, candy floss, lip gloss…. how am I doing?!

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Book Info

Format

Paperback
224 pages
Interest Age: From 13

Author

Jenny Valentine
More books by Jenny Valentine

Publisher

Harpercollins Publishers

Publication date

5th March 2009

ISBN

9780007283590

Categories


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