C.J. Skuse was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children's fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. Sweetpea is CJ’s first adult novel.
So deeply dark (and satisfying) this book just might locate a tad of the dark side in you too. Rhiannon is back! If that doesn’t mean anything to you, stop here and do not pass go, head straight out and buy yourself a copy of Sweetpea first. You have to read Sweetpea (one of my books of 2017) followed by In Bloom (which will be one of my books of 2018) because there is no other way. I simply adored the shock-fest that introduces serial killer Rhiannon and wondered how on earth C. J. Skuse could top the thrill of discovering Rhiannon for the first time. The answer is that I fell head long into the story and refused to come up for air until I had finished, I found a darker, and perhaps if possible, a more provocative read, though one that still delivers killer blows of humour. Quite how the writing doesn’t tip over into a farcical blood-bath I’m not sure, it just proves the beautiful balanced touch to the writing that encourages thought, while inducing cackles. The truly fabulous kill list continues, more of Rhiannon’s back story is revealed, a certain little voice adds a delicious note of reasoned absurdity, and oh my word that ending! Trampling over conventionality and kicking conscience in the face, In Bloom is an immensely powerful and stimulating read.
The first adult novel by an acclaimed children's book author, Sweetpea hits all the right buttons. A dark, twisted read about a female serial killer with dollops of humour, sarcasm and a lightweight approach to a serious subject that shouldn't work but does! Rhiannon loves her pet dog and her doll house and works in a menial position at her local newspaper. She also kills people in imaginative ways. None of them are actually innocent; well, maybe one was... Her boyfriend is cheating on her with a friend to his peril. You can't help but smile along with Rhiannon as her diary unfolds, bitchy, sarcastic, lethal. Skuse is clever and maintains just the right balance of immorality, belly laughs, sinister actions and eye-opening commentary on the absurdities and pettiness of everyday life to, keeping you gripped and on the hook, both smiling and squirming. I'm looking forward to her next 'grown-up' book, as this one will be hard to beat! ~ Maxim Jakubowski The LoveReading view... Oooh, this is a truly cringe-inducing, yet addictive, whammy of a read. ‘Sweetpea’ is the diary of a serial killer, Rhiannon may look sweet and innocent, but inside that shell, is a plotting, deviously twisted mind. The first chapter shocked me, in fact every chapter shocked me, I blurted with laughter and then burned with guilt at my reaction as words spilled from Rhiannon’s mind onto the page. If you find the thought of an evil-thinking, murdering psychopath, who tosses imaginative profanities like litter a little off-putting, then do think twice before opening this book. If you do peek, be warned, I found it impossible to put down, this is a psychopath whose words struck a chord and made me wonder at my own propensity for wickedness. This is the first novel for adults from C. J. Skuse, and I think she must have an evil little monster residing in her pen, yet as information was revealed, my thoughts halted, coiled, altered. ‘Sweetpea’ is a wonderfully surprising novel, obvious, a shock-fest, in your face… yet incredibly subtle and thought-provoking too, I loved it, I absolutely loved it. ~ Liz Robinson Books in The Rhiannon Series: 1. Sweetpea 2. In Bloom Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.
October 2016 NewGen Book of the Month. In a Nutshell: Revelations | Revenge | Rebuilding relationships Masterfully suspenseful rollercoaster of a read, with a genuinely jaw-dropping finale. Once thick as thieves and known as “The Fearless Friends”, the light of Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane’s friendship was extinguished following the death of Max’s older sister, Jess. Only Ella and Max are still close. So close, in fact, that he’s desperate to go all the way with her. But Ella isn’t ready for that. She has enough going on already, including her commitments to a promising athletics career, which has already earned her the nickname “Volcano Girl”. The group begins to re-form when Ella and Max see Corey looking for his lost cat. While helping him search, the three of them end up near Fallon’s house on the edge of town. While there’s bad blood between Fallon’s much-maligned mum and Max’s family, they reignite their friendship. Then, a series of revelations lead to a riot of revenge and Volcano Girl erupts, along with the action, as increasingly dark truths are excavated in heart-stoppingly unexpected layers. As kids “we saw magic in everything,” Ella remarks. “Something about growing up kicks that out of you without you even realising it's happening”. While the teenagers in this remarkable novel have certainly had a lot kicked out of them, and while the unexpected twist will leave readers reeling, there’s much magic between its pages: this novel is plotted with incredible panache, and sparks of rekindled light glow through the darkness. ~ Joanne Owen A letter from the author: Dear reader, This book has been with me for 15 years now. Little did I know when I began how difficult it would be to write. I learn something with every new project and with The Deviants, it was bravery. I don't think I was ready to be this story's writer 15 years ago. I wasn't brave enough. It took me four other novels to find the courage I needed to give The Deviants the story they deserved. Though the central storyline has changed many times over during the past decade - the characters' names alone have changed constantly - my intention for it has always been the same: to create a modern day Famous Five where life's not all picnics and bike rides and the baddies aren't as easy to identify. To create five modern teenagers dealing with five modern issues who come together to find a joint way forward for themselves - and solve the horrendous mystery that's impacted all their lives. But it's become much more than that now; more than just a throwaway story about five depressed teens or a slapstick comedy about kids who drink home brew instead of ginger beer and ride discarded supermarket trolleys, rather than bicycles. Back in the mists of time, the pitch was 'The Famous Five find a bag in the woods.' Then that turned into 'The Famous Five find a body in the woods.' Pretty soon, they were hunting for a serial killer, then a paedophile and now, they are The Fearless Five and they have found a body washed up on a beach. For some reason, the beach body became the pitch I stuck with, but this is just the beginning. For all the Famous Five-esque shenanigans going on within these pages, this book deals with three things above all else - growing up, the insidious effects of abuse and the colossal power of true friendship. It is my absolute pleasure to share it with you and I hope something within these pages lights a fire within you the way it has within me. CJ Skuse
October 2015 NewGen Book of the Month. In an isolated boarding school, a group of girls settle in for the holidays. Everyone else has gone home and there are rivalries and animosity between them – this definitely isn’t going to be a happy Christmas. But no-one knows just how bad things will get! As snow falls, cutting them off, stories of the monstrous beast that stalks the hills become terrifyingly plausible: something is out there, something murderous! It’s a classic set up and C.J. Skuse squeezes every thrill and heart-stopping moment out of it, adding a breezy, sardonic humour just right for teen readers. Grisly, nail-biting fun! ~ Andrea Reece
Kreisch! Jodys Lieblingsband ist in der Stadt. Klar, dass sie schon 14 Stunden vor Konzertbeginn da ist. Denn sie muss unbedingt ganz vorne stehen. Es geht schlielich um Jackson, den tollsten aller Leadsanger. Allerdings ist Jody nicht die Einzige und in dem ganzen Gedrange und Geschubse kippt sie einfach um, knallt auf den Boden und anstatt vor der Buhne zu stehen, wacht sie Backstage auf einer Liege auf. Schlimmer kann es nicht werden. Auer - man entfuhrt einen Rockstar, versteckt ihn in der Garage und versucht so zu tun, als habe man alles im Griff.
Paisley ist ein einziger Albtraum. Sie pfeift auf Regeln, ist schon von jeder Schule geflogen und hat eine gewaltig groe Klappe. Ihr Zwillingsbruder Beau ist das genaue Gegenteil, also das, was man einen pflegeleichten Teenager nennt. Als Paisley aus Versehen das Haus ihrer botoxbehandelten Gromutter anzndet, deren Revolver und Auto klaut, und Beau einfach mitnimmt, stecken aber beide in Schwierigkeiten. Nichts worber man sich aufregen muss, findet Paisley. Schlielich haben die Zwillinge Wichtiges vor: Sie wollen zu ihrem Vater nach Las Vegas. Und dafr mssen sie noch ganz andere krumme Dinger drehen ...