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These debuts - written by authors we believe are destined to have a great future as children's writers -have struck a real chord with us. We can't guarantee to find authors of this calibre every month but our scouts are out sourcing the best as often as we can. Here are the best first-time authors you need to know about.
Although not the target audience for this debut novel, Pretty Bad Things arrived on my desk at about the time the Catcher in the Rye author, J D Salinger died and there are definite comparisons to be drawn. Here in Pretty Bad Things we have two teens rebelling against and feeling immensely frustrated about today’s world and about being let down by the adults in their life. They have attitude, yet they’re vulnerable and their raw emotions will draw you into their story from the very start. You’ll feel as if you’re there with them, experiencing and understanding their frustrations. The writing is incredibly vivid, immensely sad at times but also utterly exhilarating. So, for today’s teenager or an adult who remains a teenager at heart, this book could do what Catcher in the Rye has done for more than a generation of readers but unlike J D Salinger, let’s hope the author continues to deliver a knock-out punch with each new book that’s published! Pretty Bad Things is something really special so expect it to be talked about in years to come.
One of our Books of the Year 2015 - April 2015 Debut of the Month Meet Ivy Pocket, junior lady’s maid, and one of the most delightful fictional creations readers are ever likely to encounter. Sacked by her employer after she has – with the best possible intentions - plunged her mistress’s head into a bowl of punch at a dinner party, Ivy is stranded in Paris. It seems a stroke of luck therefore when she’s commissioned to take a precious jewel to England, but there’s something not right about the Clock Diamond, and Ivy is soon plunged into danger of a strange, supernatural kind. The adventure that follows is intriguing and full of scary moments, but it’s Ivy who makes the book really special. Ivy takes plain-speaking to extremes; presents her ridiculous invented self-histories with a bravado that never fails to impress the reader, if not the listener; and has an inexhaustible repertoire of bizarre practical remedies! An original and entertaining story with a truly irresistible heroine. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | January 2016 Debut of the Month Meet Ivy Pocket, junior lady’s maid, and one of the most delightful fictional creations readers are ever likely to encounter. Sacked by her employer after she has – with the best possible intentions - plunged her mistress’s head into a bowl of punch at a dinner party, Ivy is stranded in Paris. It seems a stroke of luck therefore when she’s commissioned to take a precious jewel to England, but there’s something not right about the Clock Diamond, and Ivy is soon plunged into danger of a strange, supernatural kind. The adventure that follows is intriguing and full of scary moments, but it’s Ivy who makes the book really special. Ivy takes plain-speaking to extremes; presents her ridiculous invented self-histories with a bravado that never fails to impress the reader, if not the listener; and has an inexhaustible repertoire of bizarre practical remedies! An original and entertaining story with a truly irresistible heroine. ~ Andrea Reece
This is a debut novel packed with warmth, humour and quirkiness that will have you in fits of laughter one minute and in tears the next as the author explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures. Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long lost half brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London, where he belongs. Then Andi's biggest wish comes true and she's minutes away from becoming someone's little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he'll turn out to be tall and just as mad as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he's tall all right. But he's not just tall ...he's a GIANT. Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2011: Favourite Story. Here is a list of all the shortlisted books: Best Book with Facts: Do Igloos Have Loos? - Mitchell Symons How the World Works - Christiane Dorion What You Need To Know Now: The World in Facts, Stats, and Graphics - Joe Fullman, Ian Graham, Sally Regan and Isabel Thomas Most Fun Story with Pictures: Alienography - Chris Riddell Mr Gum and the Cherry Tree - Andy Stanton Lunatics and Luck (The Raven Mysteries) - Marcus Sedgwick Favourite Stories: Dead Man's Cove (A Laura Marlin Mystery) - Lauren St John A Web of Air (Mortal Engines) - Philip Reeve Tall Story - Candy Gourlay
July 2016 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Trip of a lifetime • Seize the day • Perfect endings Always heartwarming, often laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is a sublime novel about living, loving and savouring every precious moment. As Maddie plans her pre-college summer vacation, her wealthy, flamboyant grandmother, Gram, drops a bombshell. She doesn't have long to live and she’s taking the whole family on a cruise, but not “one of those tacky, eat-all-you-want buffet ships”, she explains. Rather, this is a voyage for the dying and their loved ones, during which the passenger-patients aboard the good ship Wishwell will choose their time to be sent to sleep. Maddie’s family is reeling with shock when Gram springs another surprise. The love of her life wasn’t the man she spent most of her life married to. That honour goes to Bob Johns, the joyous, dreadlocked jazz-loving Jamaican whom she couldn't marry in the “backwards-ass world of the 1940s”, and he’s coming with them. During the trip of a lifetime, Maddie becomes “ship sisters” with 32-year-old Paige, and falls madly in love, as they travel to places of Gram’s choosing where she ticks off items on her incredible loose ends list before her journey ends. This remarkable debut is abundant in life lessons (live to the full, be fearless, be forgiving) but perhaps the most gorgeous message of all comes from Gram. “Take the pain and grow beauty”, she advises. Every bit as poignant on the subject of popping your clogs as it is on popping your cherry (a summary I reckon straight-talking Gram would approve of), this book will make you laugh, cry and emerge from its pages feeling monumentally uplifted. ~ Joanne Owen
This is a remarkable and moving debut novel that was causing waves well before it was published. The author has crafted a powerful and at times frightening tale that explores humanity’s unfailing desire not just to survive, but to live, even in its darkest hours. Beautifully written, terrifically paced and featuring one of the most relatable and identifiable characters in young adult fiction, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is set to capture the imaginations of readers of all ages with its mix of horror, redemption and sheer breathtaking storytelling. Told through the eyes of a young girl called Mary, this is set to be the debut of the year we reckon.
December 2014 Debut of the Month An epic new magical adventure series featuring a modern artful dodger called Fin who is on a mission to find his mother and school girl Marrill who is whisked away one day from a car park by a pirate ship to another world and wants to get back home. Full of quirky yet believable characters and places described so vividly, you feel you are right there with them, so get ready for a rollercoaster ride of a lifetime as you join Fin and Marrill on their search not just for what they want but also on a wild chase to find the Map to Everywhere which a dark and powerful wizard is also seeking. A letter from the authors... Dear Reading Traveller, You would have to come from the most cut-off, backwater spot in all existence not to have heard of the legendary Pirate Stream. But many of us have never actually sailed its glowing waters ourselves. What can you expect out on the open Stream? Well, it’s all about the unexpected here, so the best way to learn is to dive right in! WARNING: Do not, under any circumstances, dive right into the Pirate Stream. Its waters are pure, undiluted magic, and touching them, drinking them, sniffing them, or thinking unkindly about them could and absolutely will result in bad things happening.The authors of this guide are not responsible for spontaneous vaporization, uncontrollable transmorgraphication, prefrontal stankalation, or anything else that sounds made up until it happens to you. It is said that the Pirate Stream touches all the worlds of creation, at some place and some time. All we know for sure is that if you can imagine it—whether it’s a forest full of gossiping trees, a land of lizard-riding plants, or a city that likes to eat spectacles—it’s probably out there somewhere! Just be sure you have a good ship, a captain who knows what he’s doing, and of course, a good map, because you never know where you might end up and who you might meet when you get there. So dip into this guide and then grab The Map to Everywhere to see where it takes you! Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
March 2014 Debut of the Month The Da Vinci Code meets Alex Rider in a wildly imaginative and non-stop present day adventure series. Thirteen-year-old Ronan Truelove has just discovered he's a member of The Blood Guard - an ancient order sworn to protect the Pure. Suddenly his mother's insistence on martial arts lessons makes sense. Ronan must use all his skills - including ones he never knew he had - to save his parents, the girl of his dreams and the world, in that order. Perfect for fans of Rick Riordan, Robert Muchamore, Anthony Horowitz and Michael Grant.
March 2014 Debut of the Month Fun and lively this will appeal to fans of David Walliams. Harvey Drew is an ordinary eleven-year-old who dreams of great adventures in outer space. The Toxic Spew is an intergalactic waste disposal ship. The two are on a collision course for chaos! A Piece of Passion from Sara O'Connor, Editorial Director I have read a lot of fiction series for boys and I can assure you that Harvey Drew is special. It has all the action, all the humour and all the story that you might expect, but it also has a quiet lesson to be learned. Harvey exemplifies good leadership. He would never ask his crew to do something he wouldn't do himself. He uses his diplomacy skills and shows his crew how to work together to make things a little bit better than they were yesterday. These are values I want to pass on to my son - buried in the heart of a rip-roaring, giggle-inducing space adventure!
June 2015 Debut of the Month Micah has grown up with his grandfather Ephraim, and the two have had great fun together. Ephraim has always had time for Micah, talking to him and sharing stories from his own childhood of the mysterious Circus Mirandus where impossible things happen and your dreams come true. When Ephraim gets ill Micah decides to find the Circus and claim the miracle its owner promised. He’s accompanied there by his very practical friend Jenny. What follows is a story of love, friendship and the amazing power of faith. Micah and Jenny do find the circus and experience its wonders for themselves in scenes that will entrance readers. There’s real magic in this story, read it and you’ll see it all around you too. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Barry Cunningham, Publisher, Chicken House Micah’s grandfather is really ill – but he tells a secret about a mysterious magical circus that could change everything. So somewhere between a tree house and the stars, Micah looks for a miracle from a man who can bend light. This is a truly fantastic story about everything that matters! Cassie Beasley is an outstanding new talent – with the coolest voice I’ve ever heard!
A teen story with a difference. London Lane seems like any normal high school student except that she can’t remember the past – her brain is wiped clean at 4.33 every day – and worse, she can see what is going to happen next. But when a new boy arrives in the school she can’t see him in the future but she does have strange flashbacks to a funeral. Whose can it be? An original, tender and funny story with familiar high school trappings. The LoveReading Comment:Forgotten is the story of a girl for whom yesterday is lost, today is an adventure, and tomorrow is a memory. An unforgettable read. With the intrigue of Memento and the romance of The Time-Traveller's Wife, Forgotten is the perfect YA novel, with an utterly convincing teen voice, exquisite against-the-odds romance, a dark secret, and a heroine who is just like you or me except for one crucial detail... read to find out.
An astonishing debut. Moving. Funny. Explosive. And most of all, unexpected...As powerful as Frank Cottrell Boyce's Millions. A Piece of Passion from Ali Dougal, Catherine's Editor at Egmont Books: We Can Be Heroes is the sort of book that I dreamt of working on when I decided I wanted to be an editor. It’s a book that pushes boundaries; it addresses racial and class issues and explodes stereotypes . . . but most of all it’s funny, moving, madcap and utterly unputdownable. Catherine Bruton took inspiration from various sources when writing the book: the kids she teaches who love manga, a boy she met whose father had died in the 7/7 bombings and an article she had written previously about children whose parents died in the 9/11 attacks. This is what gives the novel such depth and integrity, and makes the voice really shine. In some ways, Catherine’s writing reminds me of Frank Cottrell Boyce’s work: she delivers a cracking rollercoaster of a plot, beautifully observed and full of unforgettable characters. We Can Be Heroes is a novel with heart and soul and real staying power that offers something to everyone from 11-111. It’s Catherine’s first book for children and young adults (her second, Pop!, is coming in 2012) and I have no doubt that readers will fall in love with it just as much as I have.
LoveReading's debuts are titles that have struck a real chord with us here by a debut author who we believe has a real future as a children's writer.
We can't guarantee to find authors of this calibre every month but our scouts are out sourcing the best as often as we can.
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