Grass by Cathy Macphail


Written by Cathy Macphail

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Winner of the Scottish Book Award 2010 (Older Readers category).

Tension mounts and there is no escape in this gripping thriller about gang violence. Leo and his best friend Sean have been brought up knowing how to avoid danger from the violent gangs who run their estate. But, they can’t help being excited by the drama of the turf wars even though they try to keep out of trouble. When Leo witnesses a terrible event he finds his whole life turned upside down as he gets too close to the inside. Knowing he mustn’t grass, Leo tries to cope on his own but the choices he has to make test everything he has ever believed in. A high octane drama that is also thought-provoking.


Grass by Cathy Macphail

It would have been hard to have missed what was written on the wall. Painted in giant whitewashed letters: 'SHARKEY IS A GRASS'. I hadn't a clue who Sharkey was, but I knew one thing.

And you don't grass on them. Not unless you don't value your life - like Sharkey. And then Leo is unlucky enough to witness the murder of one gang leader by another, a man called Armour.

Leo draws a long breath of relief. He has got away with it. But he hasn't - not really.

Leo will live to regret that wink and realise that Armour has an insidious hold on him and his family,which will test his family relationships, and his very sense of what is right and wrong. It will take bravery, luck and sheer daring to extricate himself from Armour's deadly web.


'Young adult fiction is going from strength to strength, led by authors like Cathy MacPhail'

'Cathy MacPhail's novels are tuned to how teenagers talk and behave'

'Macphail handles her gritty material - particularly the machinations of gangland - with skill, her sense of setting is well sustained and she gives us a novel which satisfyingly blends crime and thriller genres'

'Gritty and convincing throughout, Grass conveys with chilling accuracy the power of gang leaders over local communities ... This is a book with real bite and an uplifting ending'

About the Author

Cathy Macphail

Scottish author Cathy McPhail won the Kathleen Fidler Award with her novel Run Zan Run, the Scottish Arts Council Award with her second novel, Fighting Back, a Royal Mail award and the 2010 Explore Award for Roxy's Baby and the 2010 Stockport Award and Royal Mail Award for Grass. Cathy's work is enormously popular with young teenagers, her trademarks being pacy and topical storylines. Cathy lives in Greenock, Scotland.

Cathy wrote Run Zan Run after her daughter Katie was bullied at school. Cathy now loves writing for children. Asked what she'd do if she wasn't a writer, she says: "If I wasn't paid to write, I'd still write books. What do I do in my spare time? I write. What is my hobby? Writing. I just love it. So, what would I be if I wasn't a writer? Bored stiff."

Cathy is the author of the heart-stopping and highly original crime thrillers Nemesis Boys. Reluctant readers in particular will be drawn to the whole package – the dramatic cover look, the short time frame in which all four thrillers are set, the short, pacy chapters, the cliff hangers and the dynamic, independent, resourceful boy hero.

Nemesis is the junior Bourne Identity so parents who are fans of Robert Ludlum’s writing will appreciate just how good and suitable the Nemesis quartet is for their late tween and teen offspring.

Devil you know is a fast-paced teen thriller with the author’s unique brand of real-life drama and shocking twists, the action-packed story of a group of boys dealing with friendship, trust and revenge on a Glasgow estate.

There are bookmarks and posters to download from Cathy's website - click on the link on the right hand side.

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Book Info


256 pages


Cathy Macphail
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Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Publication date

3rd August 2009




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