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Alison Allen-Gray was brought up in the wilds of Suffolk, where an inspirational primary school teacher helped her to manage the interruption that school posed to the important business of having adventures. Whilst studying for a degree in English and Drama Alison and her friends converted an old chapel into a performance venue and spent long summers doing children's shows and taking plays to the Edinburgh Fringe.
After university Alison co-founded a performing arts centre and co-wrote two children's musicals. She spent the next 10 years developing her acting career, performing in theatres all over the country, mainly in children's theatre. She continued her writing for children and her first picture book was shortlisted for The Children's Book Award. Since 1999 Alison has been working as a magazine editor which she says has taught her a thing or two about cutting!
Alison lives with her partner and her ginger cat and is interested in many things - almost anything in fact, except football and housework.
Her novel, Unique, was shortlisted for the 2004 Booktrust Teenage Prize
This debut novel, published back in 2004 has only just hit our radar screen at Lovereading4kids with the publication of her second novel Lifegame. We've been so blown away by the brilliance of Unique that we just had to tell everyone about it. It's an adventure thriller first and foremost; it has a beautifully constructed plot, well written with powerful characterization. Dominic at 15 discovers he had a brother he never knew. Curiosity gets the better of him and he sets off to find out why his parents have kept this from him. His discovery is terrifying - that he is nothing more than a replacement, a replica, a clone of his brother. A brother who it turns out was much cleverer in the eyes of his family. It's a novel that's impossible to put down and one that is so relevant to read now as it tackles the frightening and real issues of cloning and the consequences should scientific advances in this area be allowed to continue. Every teenager should read this novel. Then go on to the author's long-awaited second novel, Lifegame.
An incredibly topical thriller that captures the mood of the moment in terms of the scientific advances that are becoming increasingly possible and yet continue to be highly controversial. Picture if you can an island complete with families, all of whom believe they are the only survivors of a holocaust. In fact, as time goes on two teenagers from very different backgrounds on the island discover a diary written 15 years before that begins to uncover the real truth of the island and what may be beyond. A truth too awful to comprehend until you read it. The teenagers will draw you in to a world and lead you to the terrifying truth that the islanders are being used for something that people elsewhere may need one day. Frightening but Lifegame is utterly compelling. If you've never read the author's debut novel Unique then click here.
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