Outstanding first novels for young people

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Brandford Boase Award Shortlist 2014

The BBA was set up to reward the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing. The Award is made annually to the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist.

The shortlist:

Infinite Sky by C J Flood, edited by Venetia Gosling.

Iris’ life changes one summer – her mum leaves home, travellers set up camp in the family’s field, her older brother goes off the rails, and she falls in love for the very first time. Opening with a funeral, Iris is mourning the boy in the casket – but who is it? Sam, her tearaway brother, or Trick, her tentative boyfriend?

Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones, edited by Mara Bergman.

London, 1841. A boy covered in hair, raised as a monster, condemned to life in a travelling freak show. A boy with an extraordinary power of observation and detection. A boy accused of murder; on the run; hungry for the truth. Behold the savage spectacle of Wild Boy.

Alex the Dog and the Unopenable Door by Ross Montgomery, edited by Rebecca Lee & Suslia Baybars

Alex Jennings is a boy with a lot of problems. But with the help of a talking dog and a girl with unfeasibly sharp teeth, he just might have what it takes to cross the Forbidden Lands, escape the evil Davidus Kyte, and find out what lies beyond the Cusp . . . Shortlisted for Costa Children’s book prize

The Poison Boy by Fletcher Moss, edited by Imogen Cooper & Barry Cunningham.

Poison boy Dalton Fly, a lowly food taster to the rich, has a lucky escape after drinking laced wine. But his mate is less fortunate, and Dalton wants answers. Who murdered his friend and what were they were really after?

Geek Girl by Holly Smale, edited by Lizzie Clifford.

Harriet Manners knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a ‘jiffy’ lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. But she doesn’t know why nobody at school seems to like her. So when Harriet is spotted by a top model agent, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself.

Red Ink by Julie Mayhew, edited by Emily Thomas.

When her mother is knocked down and killed by a London bus, fifteen-year-old Melon Fouraki is left with no family worth mentioning. Her mother, Maria, never did introduce Melon to a ‘living, breathing’ father. A powerful coming-of-age tale about superstition, denial and family myth.

Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew, edited by Rebecca McNally.

On a frozen Cornish moor, a fourteen-year-old girl lives in a trailer with her dad and little brother. Ennor’s mother left years ago, now her father’s gravely ill. Days before Christmas, when the wind is cold and her dad’s health takes a turn for the worse, Ennor packs a blanket, a map, a saucepan and a gun into her rucksack, and sets off to find her mum and bring her home

 The winner will be announced on the 10th July.

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