Friday, 23 December 2011

Dear Keren...(part 2)

Dear Keren

I really enjoyed your books When I Was Joe and Almost True. When is there going to be another book about Ty? What do you suggest I read in the meantime?                                  

First of  all, let me draw your attention to my third book Lia's Guide to Winning the Lottery. True, it is not obviously a 'boy' book, true it has both a handbag and a shoe on the cover. But I think that most people who liked WIWJ and AT would enjoy it. It is not just about money, sex and shopping -  although those are elements -  it also should make you think about about economics, and values (but in a good way) families, friendship and Facebook. There is some suspense and a twisty plot. The heroine gets nicer. Trust me.

New book about Ty coming out in August 2012 in the UK, called Another Life. Covers and tasters coming soon on this blog.

OK, once you've bought Lia's Guide, it's hard for me to know what to recommend because I don't know what aspect of WIWJ and AT you enjoyed. Was it the crime element, the characters, or the lurve story? All I can do is point you to some books that I have enjoyed, and see how you go. Like WIWJ and AT, they feature messed-up, confused and far from perfect male protagonists.

Taking Flight  by  Sheena Wilkinson. I can almost guarantee that anyone who likes my books will enjoy Taking Flight, which I have raved about ever since it came out in 2010. Even more reason to get your hands on it and read it now, because there will be a sequel Grounded coming out next year. In Taking Flight Sheena mixes urban grittiness with classic pony book, with a Northern Ireland setting and  creates an exciting book where you care for each and every character, while competely recognising their many flaws. I've been lucky enough to read Grounded, and it's even better. Add to the travails of our hero Declan, the horse-mad boy from the wrong part of town, a neurotic horse called Folly and a mixed-up kid called Cian. There are truly shocking moments and I was enthralled throughout...and could hardly believe it had ended when it dod. More, please!

Flip by Martyn Bedford. Some brilliant insights in this books about a boy who wakes up in another boy's body -  I esepcially enjoyed the moment when he first takes a pee using someone else's equipment. It would have been easy to play it for laughs, but Martyn Bedford turns it into a moving story which examines the very basics of who we are.

 Paranormal isn't usually my thing, but I loved White Cat and Red Glove by Holly Black which is a clever twist on the usual tropes. Our hero Cassel comes with plenty of problems, part of a family of magic workers in a world where magic is illegal, he's living with the knowledge that he killed his best friend.

Playground by 50 Cent. The usual growling prejudice against celebrities who decide to write children's books had to be suspended for this one, because I loved it. This is despite it being a 'therapy' book, which is a device I usually don't like.  It's the story of Butterball, who starts off as an unpleasant bully who has violently attacked another boy. Without excusing or ignoring what he'd done, the reader gradually comes to hope for Butterball's redemption - something that seems impossible at the beginning when he's full of incoherent swagger. I was fascinated by the US setting - paying for your own social worker? Paying for private school if you're expelled from state school? -  a long way from the anodyne view of American life served up by Disney Channel.The healing relationship between Butterball and his cousellor was truly moving, and might help readers understand what is missing in their own lives. I could not stop reading until I had found out Butterball's secrets. 

Last year's top fantasy read, Gillian Philip's superb  Firebrand featured a truly warped anti-hero, the deliciously dark, sulky, misunderstood faery (but don't let that put you off) Seth.  He returned this year in the sequel Bloodstone , even more twisted than before, and there's another snarling, angry youth, Jed, who I instantly fell for. Do read Firebrand before Bloodstone, so that you have some sympathy for Seth (because he works hard to use it all up in Bloodstone). And if you want a taster for the series, Gillian's written a short ebook prequel Frost Child about Seth's father, available for the bargain price of just 86p.

If you're looking for a laugh, forget the Wimpy Kid, read Dark Lord: The Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson. It's one joke really, but a great one, can Dirk Lloyd. the mysterious boy found in a car park really be a banished Dark Lord stripped of his dastardly powers?

1 comment:

  1. KEREN IS THE BEST! I thought i hate books, guess that all changed since the day I picked up 'When I was Joe'