Shortlisted for the Scottish Teenage Book Prize 2017
The bleak but beautiful ancient village of Skara Brae on Orkney is the setting for this original and intriguing novel, and an atmosphere of otherness pervades the story. Lennon brings together the original inhabitants of the village with Rab, a young time-traveller from a distant future where pain and hunger are unknown. Their worlds could not be more different, but relationships are formed nonetheless as Rab and the villagers both fight for their survival. A skilful mix of sci-fi, historical thriller and romance with interesting, believable characters this is a book that will stay with readers for a long time. ~ Andrea Reece
Commenting on her nomination for the Scottish Teenage Book Prize Joan said: “I'm really excited to be part of the new Scottish Teenage Book Prize in its very first year. To know that Silver Skin is being read and talked about by the people it was written for is a great feeling – and I can't wait to see the book trailers!”
A Piece of Passion from Andrew Simmons, Editorial Manager, Birlinn Ltd Joan Lennon’s Silver Skin is fantastic, gripping novel in which Rab, a young time traveller from the future, accidentally ends up in the Neolithic period. One of the most extraordinary things about the book is that it is set in a real place – the prehistoric settlement at Skara Brae, one of Orkney’s most important archaeological sites. This specific context gives the book an authenticity which is lacking in many novels about the remote past, and Joan’s descriptions of places and landscapes which have changed little since the time in which her story is set help to create a vivid picture in the mind’s eye. This, combined with an exciting plot (Rab and the islanders are each involved in a race against time for their very survival) in which the suspense never flags, and a cast of well-defined characters, make Silver Skin a remarkably successful novel for young adult, and older, readers.
Skara Brae, Orkney, during the Neolithic period. The sun is dying, crops are failing and the local inhabitants fear that the end of the world is near. When a strange boy appears from nowhere, dressed in an odd silver suit - his 'silver skin' - the community is thrown into confusion. Who is he, where is he from, and why has he come? Is he a selkie or seal person, a mythical being believed to have magical powers? For Cait, herself an outsider in the community, the boy, Rab, arouses a strange fascination as she finds herself strangely drawn towards him. For Voy, the Old Woman, Rab represents the only hope for the sun's regeneration, but only if his silver skin is burnt in a huge sacrificial blaze. As the pyre is built, Rab must fight for his life if he is ever to be able to return to his own time. And if he succeeds, what will be the fate of the islanders he will leave behind?
A Piece of Passion from Sally Pattle, Publicity Officer, Birlinn Ltd It’s quite hard to place Silver Skin in one genre – it’s science fiction mixed with a historical thriller, there’s a bit of teen romance and some fantasy as well – all of which together makes for an excellent story that just whips along. I was gripped from the first page and found I cared about what happened to Rab and Cait – I was rooting for them to make it together! The action switches from the far future to Victorian times before resting in the Bronze Age where Rab must come to terms with his new reality very quickly. How he copes with feeling pain for the first time and not living in an artificial space is utterly absorbing. Joan Lennon is a hugely experienced chidlren’s author, this is her first foray into YA territory and I am looking forward to reading more.
‘Fascinating, absorbing and exciting ... recommended’ – The Bookbag
Praise for Joan Lennon
‘. . . well-rounded characters, which change and face personal demons; there is humour, quirkiness and complexity and the worlds are vividly and excitingly realised. Definitely a writer to watch’ Book Trust
‘. . . entertaining, amusing, with carefully drawn characters and a well-thought-out plot, Joan Lennon’s sci-fi is a latter-day Gulliver’s Travels that takes the reader to delightfully imagined worlds’ Scotsman on Sunday
On The Seventh Tide
‘Throughout the story, the Scottish locations are vividly evoked. The characterisation is warm and rich. Events are compelling, inventive, exciting, and poignant by turns. The humour is frequent, intelligent, and genuinely funny. The Seventh Tide is an outstanding fantasy adventure, very highly recommended. And there’s even a heroic librarian!’ Antonia Gray, Write Away
|Publication date:||16th June 2015|
|Publisher:||Birlinn Ltd an imprint of Birlinn General|
|Suitable for:||13+ readers, YA readers|
|Other Categories:||All Shortlists and Winners|
Joan Lennon was born in Canada and came to Scotland in 1978. She has had a wide range of jobs from ice-cream sundae constructor to piano teacher to Putzfrau at the Munich Olympics. She has written novels for all age groups and is attempting to break the world record for the largest number of books to include the word "ferret" somewhere in them. She has appeared all over the UK at book festivals, libraries and schools, where she gives talks and leads workshops for readers and writers of all ages. She has been a ...More About Joan Lennon