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Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

Twenty Questions for Gloria

NewGen - YA Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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“Uman didn't make me do what I did. He made me realise I wanted to do it,” explains Gloria, the narrator of this absorbing psychological thriller, but both her parents and the police find this impossible to believe.

After vanishing for fifteen days, Gloria is being questioned as to why she went on the run with a boy she’d only recently met. But it makes sense to Gloria. Enigmatic Uman does things his own way, never “giving a damn what anyone thought of him”. While initially sceptical of his claim to be able to “read” people, Gloria can't deny it when Uman says he knows that her “life disappoints her”, a truth no one else has noticed. And so their relationship shifts from “impending” to “embryonic”, to use Uman's inimitable turn of phrase, and they run away, the course of their journey determined by a pack of cards.

Thriller fans will be as enthralled by this book as Gloria is by Uman’s free-spiritedness. It’s exquisitely plotted, and the existential undercurrent gives it an additional edge of intrigue. ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews here.

  • Esmé N. Molloy, age 15 - 'I can’t get this book out of my head!!! I still can’t remove the traces of devastation and questions it has left haunting my mind.'
  • Humaira Kauser, age 17 - 'This book was not what I expected but I loved it.'
  • Izzy Read, age 15 - 'Martyn Bedford cleverly combined mystery, thriller and coming-of-age elements into this novel, making me want to change my life in some way or another and to never think inside the box again.'
  • Aimee Sweet, age 14 - 'Twenty Questions for Gloria was exciting to read and left me wanting more.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I really enjoyed this story; it was original, tender, and thought provoking. I highly recommend this book!'
  • Juliana Christianson, age 16 - 'right from the first page I was captivated...This is a must-read for any teenager seeking a thriller, with a hint of adventure and possibly romance.'
  • Emma Hughes - 'I read this book in one sitting, and enjoyed it throughout. A great read- I recommend it!'
  • Emily Kinder, age 15 - 'What would it be like to live life right in the moment, doing whatever you felt like doing, regardless of the consequences? Uman knows, and he's like no one Gloria's ever met before.'
  • Vicky Sheldon - 'A very interesting and thought provoking read. It is a brilliant story about growing up and the bridge between what is done for fun and what is serious whether you realise it or not.'  
  • Destiny Maraj, age 14 - 'Twenty questions for Gloria was a powerful gripping novel. The psychological insight made it even more touching and a fragile like state of mind.'
  • Lauren Coffman, age 15 - 'Overall, an emotional and gripping read that I would highly recommend.'
  • Morgan Steigmann - 'I would definitely recommend this book to teenagers, as the nature of the book is such that anyone could enjoy it!'


Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

Gloria is tired of her ordinary life. She barely recognizes the free-spirited girl she used to be in the unadventurous teenager she has become. So when a mysterious boy bent on breaking the rules strolls into her classroom, Gloria is ready to fall under his spell. Uman is funny, confident and smart. He does whatever he likes and doesn't care what anyone thinks of him. The only people for him are the mad ones, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn. He is everything Gloria wishes to be. He can whisk her away from the life she loathes and show her a more daring, more exciting one, in which the only limits are the boundaries of her own boldness. But Uman in not all he seems and by the time she learns the truth about him, she is a long way from home and everyone wants to know, Where's Gloria?


Quirky contemporary love story from the author of Costa-shortlisted Flip. -- Fiona Noble * The Bookseller * ...even though the book is pretty straightforward - we find out what has happened to Gloria through a police interview - Bedford keeps enough details hidden to keep you intrigued. The banter between Uman and Gloria is entertaining, and it's their chemistry that drives the story. How they fell for each other, ran away together, and ultimately went onto different paths. Not an easy book to pigeonhole, it will definitely appeal to a lot of people. -- Bee * Waterstones Cardiff * This book was not what I expected but I loved it. [...] It's a fast page-turner and I could not put the book down until I was finished. -- Reader Review * Love Reading 4 Kids * Martyn Bedford cleverly combined mystery, thriller and coming-of-age elements into this novel, making me want to change my life in some way or another and to never think inside the box again. -- Reader Review * Love Reading 4 Kids * I really enjoyed this story, it was original, tender, and thought provoking. I highly recommend this book! -- Reader Review * Love Reading 4 Kids * I read this book in one sitting, and enjoyed it throughout. -- Reader Review * Love Reading 4 Kids * A powerful new psychological thriller from Martyn Bedford, the award-winning author of Flip. * The Bookseller * The set-up is thriller-like but what is impressive about this story is its realism. * Financial Times * The set-up is thriller-like, but what's impressive about this Costa Award shortlisted story is its realism. What look s like an endorsement of thoughtless rebellion becomes something deeper as cold, hunger and bickering take their toll on the pair. Yet under it all is a golden thread of romance. * Financial Times * The narration is clever, holding back just enough at each turn to maintain the intrigue. It's a well-told, enjoyable story with rounded characters that I really want a happy ending for - and will gladly recommend! * Reading Zone * This whole story is emotionally perceptive and impeccably written. It deserves to be read. * Books for Keeps * A cracking tale, intended for teenagers but convincing enough for adults, will provide a `can't-put-down
gift for a teenager with the added bonus of good reading for the parents and the promise of plenty of twists at every turn

. * Northern Life * This is an outstanding novel which poses big questions while immersing the reader in a fast-moving narrative. * The School Librarian * The author uses the police officer's questions and Gloria's answers to bring this engaging story vividly to life. * IBW Children's Book Guide, The Bookseller *

About the Author

Martyn Bedford

Martyn Bedford is the author of five novels for adults and two for young adults.
He has also had numerous short stories published in anthologies, newspapers and magazines and broadcast on radio and the Internet.

Martyn is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he studied under Malcolm Bradbury and Rose Tremain. He is a senior associate lecturer in creative writing at Leeds Trinity University College and has previously taught at Manchester, Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan universities, as well as an academic writing residency at Leeds Trinity as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

His creative-writing teaching also includes school groups and residential courses for the Arvon Foundation and he was a founding consultant and critic-in-residence for the online writing forum

He was a fiction critic for the Literary Review (2000–2009) and previously reviewed for the New Statesman. Before becoming a writer and teacher, Martyn worked for thirteen years as a journalist in regional newspapers all over the UK.

Martyn was born and grew up in Croydon, south London, but has lived for many years in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, with his wife and two daughters.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th February 2016


Martyn Bedford

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Walker Books Ltd


304 pages
Interest Age: From 14 years


NewGen - YA Fiction
eBook Favourites

Romance & relationships stories (Children's / Teenage)
General fiction (Children's / Teenage)



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