A YA novel told from the perspective of someone with Down’s syndrome. A love story inspired by the author’s experiences alongside her severely autistic brother.
A heart-pounding love story that grips like a riptide, and doesn’t let go…Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast – stuck there with his mum and sister on the edge of nowhere. Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade.
“I read Kook with my heart in my mouth the whole way…” Emily Drabble, Guardian Children’s Books
This Guardian book blogger writes well, and speaks a lot of sense. She should read Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine to help her fall back in love with YA 🙂
Recently… I have been falling out of love with the literature that has been parading around me. They flaunt their crisp and shiny covers with stunning typography, photography and models, yet to me their insides are far from beautiful. I have my favourite authors and books, but at the same time everything negative about any novel I have recently read has waved a red flag and emitted a spine-chilling peal in my ear.
Love triangles: why are there so many in teen fiction?
All I see is fantasy/dystopian genres attempting to conform to popular film ideals. It almost seems like there is a checklist being passed round: star-crossed lovers and/or a love triangle/love square? Tick. Fight-to-the-death competitions? Tick. The swinging bait of a sequel at the end of a novel because all recent YA films have not been standalone? Tick. I’m obviously not saying everyone does this, but I do feel as if there are certain “ingredients” authors feel they must include if their book is going to be published and become a success.
Bloomsbury to counter “dreary, end-of-the-world fiction” with new “happy” romances…
Bloomsbury has announced the worldwide launch of a new clean-teen If Only line of young adult romances. The first two titles, Fool Me Twice by Mandy Hubbard and Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae are launching in the US in May and the UK in June 2014.
The If Only novels centre on teens who fall for someone they shouldn’t. Each high-concept book will feature the If Only logo and design branding. Some titles will be stand-alone, while others will be the start of a new series within If Only. The novels will each highlight the theme “you want what you can’t have.”
Ellen Holgate, UK Editorial Director for Children’s Fiction said: ‘After a glut of new adult fiction, these “clean teen” romances are perfect holiday reading for those looking for a bit of real-life escapism. We are very pleased to have such a talented group of authors writing for this list.’
‘With all the dreary, end-of-the-world fiction out there, it’s refreshing to offer a series about new love, the tantalizing thrill of should-I-or-shouldn’t-I, and the exciting roller coaster ride of real life to our teen readers,’ says Cindy Loh, US Publishing Director for Bloomsbury Children’s Books. ‘It’s time to bring back the happy!’
The If Only titles will be supported by a global marketing campaign which will include a tumblr promotion, blog tour, social media outreach and more.
The line will continue with the next book, Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan, in Autumn 2014.
This excellent feature article about K. M. Peyton appeared in Guardian Review on Saturday
"Flambards has been my old warhorse, it made me a lot of money because it sold a lot of books. It’s funny because I’ve written better books, but that’s the one that keeps on going. Most of my others are out of print now."
So it’s an irony that Peyton did not actually intend Flambards to be a children’s book, but the first in a series of romantic novels. "The first one was definitely an adult book but it started with the girl at about 13, that was my mistake, and then carried on with her love life later on."
She recalls a tussle with her publisher at the time over how it would be published. She didn’t want it to go out under a children’s imprint. Her editor offered to give it a more adult cover, but the disguise didn’t work. "I got the most vitriolic letters from mothers saying they knew what my work was like, and they were shocked at this book," she says. "It was quite sexy actually."
Nowadays Peyton’s stories of adolescent romance would be published as teenage or young adult fiction. As these didn’t exist as separate categories in the 1960s, the books were addressed to girls of indeterminate age, their burgeoning sexuality sometimes more or less buried in their passion for horses and at other times exploding out of the stable yard and into romances with a series of dashing young men.
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As a fifteen year old, Sophie Masson once wrote a short story called ‘Les Chouans’, which was her first attempt at trying to get to grips with the savagery, fear, courage and mystery of that time of Revolution, and the riven loyalties and terrible choices made by people on both sides of the civil war. Much later, she wrote an article, ‘Remembering the Vendée’, which has had many readers, but it wasn’t until many years later again that she first conceived the project of writing a novel about the tumultuous early years of the Revolution and the wars it unleashed.
Framed by a prologue and epilogue set decades later, the main body of the novel is narrated by a young man facing execution in 1794, who tells his story and that of his friends, all from very different backgrounds. Masson succeeds movingly in giving the reader a feel for the way in which these things were experienced, not as great events, but as part of people’s lives, affecting them in myriad ways, both great and small. She evokes a portrait of a whole community, and of a country, caught in the grip of massive change, of rebellion and counter-rebellion and the havoc of war, whose echoes remain in the Vendée and in France to this day.
“Masson writes like a native of the time Black Wings is set; when her characters speak, we hear the authentic voice of the 18th Century. Detailed, erudite and elegant, its characters lovingly drawn, this absorbing and deeply felt novel brings home to us the curse of living through interesting times. It will not let us forgive the French Revolution for The Terror so easily.”
Cassandra Golds, author of Clair-de-Lune, The Museum of Mary Child and The Three Loves of Persimmon.
“Masson’s tale about the limits of friendship, set against the backdrop of those best and worst of times, captures perfectly the contradictions of revolution – the appeal of the brave new world, the ruthless destruction of old ways, the romance along with the tumult and the terror. Her tale of ordinary folk helplessly caught up in the maelstrom of history, made extraordinary by chance and circumstance, offers a vision of a past that isn’t dusty, archaic and over, but vivid, engaging, alive.”
Wendy James, author of the award-winning Out of the Silence, The Steele Diaries and The Mistake.
“With skilful attention to detail, author Sophie Masson weaves a compelling tale of a nation caught up in a madness fuelled by a reckless and unrealistic idealism, and the four friends who, wittingly or not, were its victims. Set against this chilling account of the collective madness that led to the murderous rampages and bloodthirsty executions of the French Revolution is the story of Jacques’ love for Flora – a love that will test everything he believes and holds dear. A great read for lovers of historical fiction with a dash of romance.”
Felicity Pulman, author of A Ring Through Time.