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Julia Gray is a writer and singer-songwriter. She studied Classics at UCL and has a diploma in Children's Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, for which she received the Sophie Warne Fellowship. She has released three albums with the trip-hop/jazz collective Second Person, and more recently two solo albums, I Am Not The Night and Robber Bride.
This story begins in a spiritual retreat. 17 year old Nora is there to recover from an accident and promises readers she will describe the chain of events that brought her there. It will, she says, be a true story, before immediately admitting that she hasn’t always told the truth. This is putting it mildly: Nora’s whole life is a series of lies and deceptions. She has a library of stories to explain her father’s death for example, and in an early incident in the story orchestrates the sacking of a young art teacher. A skilful and convincing liar, Nora has always got what pretty much what she wants. When she meets the Ingram family, a theatrical dynasty, the part in a new film seems within her reach. But in Bel Ingram, wild, reckless and ruthless, has Nora finally met her match? Nora is a fascinating character who will have readers completely in thrall, while her ‘true story’ is full of shocks and surprises. Intelligent, gripping, highly original.
July 2016 Debut of the Month Absolutely compelling. I have to admit to being rather surprised by ‘The Otherlife’, I think I was expecting a rollicking fantasy adventure, instead a startling, yet subtle and thought provoking read awaited. Either told from the viewpoint of Ben as he is about to take his GCSE’s in 2012, or through his classmate Hobie’s journal in 2008, The Otherlife focuses on the importance of friendship and a variety of issues such as the pressure of being a teenager and parent’s expectations. While Ben copes with pain, both physical and mental, Hobie bulldozes his way through the school year, with few morals, and little thought. Julia Gray sets the Otherlife flickering on the edge of the page, on the knife edge of reality... waiting. As I settled in and felt as though I was beginning to understand, the writing ripped my thoughts apart and set me off on a new path. An intruiging, slicing read, The Otherlife, is also warmly tender and compassionate, and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson
Shortlisted for CrimeFest Best Crime Novel for Young Adults 2019. Nora has lied about many things. But has she told her most dangerous lie of all? There's a new art assistant at Nora's school, and he's crossed a line. Nora decides to teach him a lesson he won't forget. But not everything goes quite to plan, and Nora needs an escape. She befriends the rich and talented Bel, who longs for a part in a remake of a famous film. Bel is unpredictable, jealous and crazy, but she opens up a new world for Nora, and that makes her irresistible. As events start to spin wildly out of control, Nora must decide where her loyalties lie - and what deceits she can get away with.
I always get away with it when I try stuff like this. Partly it comes down to sort of assuming that I'm going to. I've got loads of confidence. And Loki got away with everything. Well, almost everything. When troubled, quiet Ben begins at the ruthlessly competitive Cottesmore House, school to the richest, most privileged boys, he is befriended by Hobie: the wealthy class bully, product of monstrous indulgence and intense parental ambition. Hobie is drawn to Ben because he can see the Otherlife: a violent, mythic place where gods and monsters roam. Ben has unnerving visions of Thor and Odin, and of the giant beasts that will destroy them, as well as Loki, god of mischief. Hobie is desperate to be a part of it. Years later, Ben discovers someone very dear to him is dead. And he can't help wondering if Hobie - wild, restless, dangerous Hobie, had something to do with it... Beguiling, shocking and richly imaginative, The Otherlife is about the darkest impulses within us all.