Waterstones Children's Prize 2016 shortlists: Older Fiction
Two weeks ago, we announced our shortlists for The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, now in its 12th year, which showcases the best in new children’s fiction. There will be a winner in each of three categories - illustrated books, younger fiction, and older fiction - before an outright winner is chosen.
Each week, we have introduced the titles in one of the three categories. This week, I will run through the last category: older fiction books. This category is aimed at ages 13 upwards, but the books will be enjoyed by many adult readers too.
The shorlisted six make up an ambitious and challenging set. The supernatural is a running theme, with a few family curses and inherited ghosts. Full of humour and life-affirming details too, these novels are written by the best voices in YA fiction.
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
The book: When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long
The author: Lisa was born and grew up in Nottingham. She studied drama at Middlesex University and since graduating has worked as an actor on stage and TV. Between acting jobs Lisa temped in offices across London, typing stories when no one was looking, one of which eventually became The Art of Being Normal. Lisa lives in North London with her boyfriend.
Bookseller review: “Incredible. One of the most powerful books I’ve read for a long time and beautifully written.”
Ellen – Ealing
The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
The book: A bewitching, dark and beautiful debut novel about a girl living in the shadow of a mysterious curse. The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
The author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle is half-French, half-Irish and lives in Dublin with her husband, two young daughters and one old cat. Moïra's French half likes red wine and dark books in which everybody dies. Her Irish half likes tea and happy endings.
Bookseller review: “I fell completely in love with every aspect of it. Dark, beguiling, lyrical and unforgettable. Fascinated to see what the author will create next.”
Jo – Salisbury
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The book: Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. What the twins don't realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.
The author: Jandy Nelson’s books have been published all over the world. Her work has won numerous awards including: a Junior Library Guild Selection, the 2015 Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, and a 2015 Stonewall Honor Book. The Sky is Everywhere and I’ll Give you the Sun have both been optioned by Warner Bros. Jandy lives in San Francisco.
Bookseller review: “Lovely! Arty and emotional and extremely unique, wonderful characters and gripping plot.”
Ciara – Manchester Deansgate
Seed by Lisa Heathfield
The book: Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolize their leader, Papa S. When a family of outsiders join their community, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed: uncertainty, hesitation, fear. She begins to see that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness she must escape from before it’s too late.
The author: Lisa lives in Brighton with her husband and three sons. Before becoming a mum, she was a secondary school English teacher and loved inspiring teenagers to read. After teaching, she ran a café in Brighton for seven years. In the middle of the general chaos of her lovely children, baking for the café and stumbling through running her own business, she wrote her first novel
Bookseller review: “A rather scary look at something that really happens around the world. Very tense and well written with wonderful character development.”
Georgie – Cribbs Causeway
13 Days of Midnight by Leo Hunt
The book: When Luke Manchett's estranged father dies suddenly, he leaves his son a dark inheritance. Little does Luke know that alongside the million pounds he has inherited, and the mysterious rings and book he has collected from the shadowy lawyer Mr. Berkley, he has also been left in charge of his father's ghost collection...
The author: Leo Hunt was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and grew up around books, and his mother's job at Seven Stories in Newcastle left a strong impression on his choice of career. He realised he wanted to either be an author or an archeologist - but when he learned that archaeologists didn't unearth piles of perfectly preserved dinosaur bones every time they put a spade in the ground, he decided on the former.
Bookseller review: “Great spooky adventure with great main character and good story line that has plenty of twists to keep you engaged and entertained.”
Vicki Lee – Swindon
The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
The book: Seventeen-year-old Twylla has a gift - or a curse. She can kill with a single touch. Now not only is she to marry the prince, but she must be court executioner, compelled to do the queen's bidding. When she meets a rebellious guard however, Twylla starts to question everything she's been told.
The author: Melinda Salisbury lives in Southend on Sea, in Essex. When not writing, she is usually busy reading, taking photos, and travelling, all of which are now more addictions than hobbies.
Bookseller review: “I want to discover more of this world, its lore and its history. Completely fascinating, and a great unpredictable storyline.”
Hattie – Reading Oracle