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'new gen' Author of the Month - Kevin Brooks
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A follow-up to the Korean-American author's noted SF debut Ninefox Gambit which has since been shortlisted for various awards and forms the opening sequence of the Machineries of Empire trilogy. This is widescreen baroque space opera in the grand style, with a galactic background that stretches to infinity (thanks to faster than light travel) and six opposing factions eternally in conflict, espionage on a grand scale, mind control, dead Generals implanted into the brains of soldiers, weapons that defy the imagination, aliens, biological modifications, military fleets racing through space, this is the adult version of Star Wars and such and a sheer delight, a rollercoaster ride with the imagination on fire, strewn with a cast of memorable characters, exotic vistas by the bucket and action that never puts the brakes on. Although Iain Banks is sadly no longer with us, the extravaganzas and thrills of space opera are safer than ever in the hands of authors like Yoon Ha Lee (and our homegrown Alastair Reynolds and Peter Hamilton). ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Did I hate him? Of course I hated him. But I never meant to kill him. With his father dead, Martyn has a choice. Tell the police what happened - and be suspected of murder. Or get rid of the body and get on with the rest of his life. Simple, right? Not quite. One story leads to another. Secrets and lies become darker and crazier. And Martyn is faced with twists and turns that leave him reeling. Life is never easy. But death is even harder.
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2010.Costa Book Awards 2010 Judges' comment: "Fresh, believable and deeply moving. We just loved this story." Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Book Award 2010.Tender and touching, this is a delicate story about facing up to difficulties and finding a way through. When Isla’s father develops a serious heart condition he can no longer take her to see the swans on the lake. Instead Isla follows the swans and finds one whose behaviour is different from all of the others; different, strange and magical. Can she and the swan make the difference that is needed not only for her father but also for Harry, the boy with cancer whom she befriends in the hospital. This is Lucy’s second novel, her first was Stolen, a superb novel for teens. Flyaway is aimed at a younger audience of 9+.
July 2009 Book of the Month. A thrilling, thought-provoking novel from the critically acclaimed Kevin Brooks. Dawn Bundy is fifteen. She doesn't fit in and she couldn't care less. Dawn has other things on her mind. Her dad disappeared two years ago and it's all God's fault. When Dawn's dad found God, it was the worst time ever. He thought he'd found the answer to everything. But that wasn't the end of it . . . A message from the author: Q. What happens if the person you love most in the world - a person who is genuinely kind and loving and good - what happens if one day that person does something unimaginably terrible to you? What happens to their goodness, to your love, to everything you once believed? Does it all just die? What happens when all you're left with is a messed-up heart, two dachshunds, a broken mother and the sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain playing constantly in your head? How does that make you feel? And what happens if there is no one to blame except God because he doesn't exist? A. The is what happens - the story of Dawn Buddy.
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Award 2009. Pete and his childhood friends meet up one last time, for ‘old time’s sake’. But old times are full of secrets, tensions, bitterness and unhappiness. And everyone sees it a bit differently. And not only because of the drugs. A hard hitting and realistic story about the chaos of adolescence. What the Carnegie judges said: 'The reader can really feel the sticky heat as Brooks builds up the sense of an interminable and stifling summer. He employs the devices of a detective novel to give us a powerful and tense read, whilst brilliantly conveying the inner tensions of his characters’ relationships. A book that really gets inside the minds of teenagers.'
Who is Robert? When he goes in for his operation, Robert is sure he knows exactly who he is. But, things look different when the surgeon opens him up. It leads Robert to set off on a thrilling journey to find out the truth about himself. A funny, spooky, romantic and fast-paced adolescent journey of discovery. The unravelling romance and gory action scenes will keep boys and girls alike hooked, and both will be asking the question, “what is Robert?” - Oscar 14
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Award 2007. This is a book that will have you gasping for breath, gripping your chair and biting your teeth all at once and from the very start. The characters are so realistic you feel you can touch them and the narrative is incredibly strong. As bestselling novelist Philip Ardagh says, ‘you can taste the blood in your mouth as you read this’. How right he is. Even the most reluctant reader will be ensnared. (14+) Judges' comment:This is original, fast paced storytelling that offers teenagers an uncompromising, powerful novel. The hero is untraditional, yet compelling; the story dark and violent, yet the violence is never gratuitous; it warns about the dangers of violence but is never didactic. This is superb writing.
Bound to capture your imagination right from the start, Lucas is the thriller that follows Caitlin, a 15-year-old girl who falls in love with a mysterious and beautiful boy with tragic consequences. The plot is gripping, thrilling and heartbreaking all at the same time and it makes you hold your breath as you turn the pages. One of the most powerful and striking books that you will ever read, Lucas comes highly recommended.
You might think that 'controversy' would be Kevin's middle name for that is what he tends to get when each and every new novel is published. Killing God as its title implies is no less controversial. Crucially though, each of his books is truly original and his vice-like storytelling power is such that he is able to get even the most reluctant teenagers hooked on reading.
For Kevin it was the publication of Martyn Pig that changed everything. After being turned down by a number of publishers, Kevin Brooks sent his manuscript to The Chicken House, who jumped on the chance to publish it. They released Martyn Pig in the spring of 2002. In the U.K, the book went on to be short-listed for the Carnegie Medal and win a Branford Boase Award for a first best novel. And in the United States, it was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start and an ALA Book of the Year, among its many accolades.
One of Brooks' favorite genres is the detective novel, and this shows in his writing, "I think my awareness of plot comes from having read a lot of crime fiction. When Martyn Pig came out, the reviewers were saying things such as 'well plotted' novel. I found that surprising because I didn't have any idea that I could plot or structure a story. I do plan, but I'm not consciously aware that I'm building a plot that creates good suspense; it comes naturally because I've soaked myself in those sorts of plots."
Why did he decide to write for children? "There are not many differences, I don't think, between writing for children and writing for adults," Brooks says, "because children aren't that different from adults. But I would say the story is the main thing, with children. With adults you might use different styles and structures, perhaps indulge in fiddly niceties. Writing for children brings you down to basics."