How far is too far in teen fiction? | Event!!

Hi guys,

I have just received this in my mailbox and will definitely attend, anyone else want to join me? This subject is just so important and causes lots of debates and Twitter campaigns so it will be really good to see this panel discuss it!

Boundaries: How far is too far in teen fiction?

Tuesday 5th July
6.30 for 7.00 pm start

Embankment rooms
80 Strand

Members – free
Non-members - £5

“Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity”
This recent comment from Wall Street Journal columnist Meghan Cox Gurdon has cause uproar in the international publishing community. The debate surrounding boundaries in teen literature has raged since the days of Judy Blume and earlier – but even in today’s high-speed media culture, in which sex, drugs and rock and roll are par for the course, do publishers and gatekeepers still have a responsibility to censor material?

Joy Court is one of the UK’s most influential children’s and young people’s librarians. In addition to her job as a librarian, she has been the chair of the YLG, is a co-ordinator for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards & Greenaway Medals, and reviews for ReadingZone.

Shannon Park is Executive Editor for fiction at Puffin Books, having worked on the Primary Literacy list at Collins and at Random House Children’s Books as a Commissioning Editor. She has worked with a diverse range of authors, including Anna Perera, Anthony McGowan, Phil Earle, Lucy and Stephen Hawking and Jeremy Strong. Her favourite books for teenagers (other than the ones she’s worked on, of course!) include The Catcher in the Rye, How I Live Now, The Book Thief, Out of Shadows and Before I Die.

Bali Rai is the author of over twenty books about teenagers, including (un)arranged marriage, Rani & Sukh and City of Ghosts. He spends much of his time working with young people in schools across the UK and abroad, talking about his work and teaching creative writing. Many of his books tackle difficult issues that reflect real life for modern British teenagers - warts and all. His latest book, Killing Honour, has just been published. It is an honest and often brutal portrayal of honour-based violence.

Julie Randles has worked in the children’s book industry for nearly twenty years - in both publishing and retailing - and is currently Managing Director of Scholastic Book Clubs, which sells books to children, teachers and parents through schools.

This event will be a panel discussion with room for questions throughout.

About: The Children’s Book Circle is a lively discussion forum for people involved in children’s books. Regular meetings provide the perfect environment in which to exchange ideas. Founded in 1962 as an informal association of children’s book editors, the CBC has expanded to embrace anyone with a professional interest in children’s books. See for details of our other events, how to get on the mailing list, and membership.

The Emerald Atlas - John Stephens

Summary from Amazon:
They were taken from their beds one frozen night, when the world was covered in snow. The silhouette of a tall, thin man has haunted Kate ever since.
Ten years on, Kate, Michael and Emma have grown up in a string of miserable orphanages, and all memories of their parents have faded to a blur. Arriving at Cambridge Falls, the children quickly realise there is something different about this place – and Kate feels sure she has seen the dark, crooked house before.
As they explore, they discover an old, empty leather book. The moment they touch it, an ancient magical prophecy is set irrevocably in motion, and the children are thrown into a dangerous alternate reality of dark enchantments and terrifying monsters. Only they can prevent the terrible event that will ruin Cambridge Falls – and stop the world from falling into complete devastation.


Kate, Michael and Emma are three orphans living in very poor conditions. Moved from orphanage to orphanage, they can only rely on each other for support. When they are moved to Cambridge Falls, their love and trust for each other will be thoroughly tested by the presence of spooky characters and extraordinary events.

The characterisation is one of the strongest and best aspect of this novel. The three main characters have different personalities which are acutely depicted. Even though they all come from the same mould, their age difference (important when it comes to their parents as Kate remembers them very well, Michael a little bit and Emma the youngest not at all) is one of the factors that differenciate them. Kate, the eldest, feels the weight of the responsibility her parents entrusted in her the night they disappeared. She wouldn't change her brother and sister for anything in the world but she wonders how different her life might have been without having to take care of them. Michael is very introverted and plunges himself in fantasy worlds populated by dwarves he discovered in one of his father's books, he is also very bright and seems to know everything (much to Emma's annoyance!). Emma is a bundle of strength, courage, determination and a bit of mischief rolled into one. She hardly thinks before acting and she never backs down. Of cource, Emma was by far my favourite character :)
But the fantastic characters don't stop at the three protagonists and a real care is taken to describe all the other characters and species.
The eerie setting is almost a promise of adventure and great danger in itself. Very remote and only accessible through a boat, Cambridge Falls doesn't feel like a home to the children when they first arrive. There are way too many secrets in it and they can't quite figure out the people living in it.

I won't spoil the fun by telling you what the fantasy aspect of the story is but I really thought that the book was an interesting take on magic/time travelling/world history and it is a great beginning to a fascinating new series. There was variety in characters and events and the story was at times laugh-out-loud funny and at others moving. The constant bickering between Emma and Michael is hilarious and I'm sure kids with siblings would relate to this book!

You can feel that the writer has been working for TV/cinema because the book has a very good pace and keeps you hooked throughout the story. The twists and turns of the plot are cleverly placed and not overwhelming or unbelievable.

I was disappointed to realise that the dwarves and screechers were very Lord Of The Rings-y but I hope the sequels will bring us fascinating new fantasy species.

The Emerald Atlas is a fantastic new series for tweens (and older!). There are some great themes about family, sibling relationships, courage and responsibility which bring depth to a great adventure story. The story has a lot of potential and I can't wait to read the sequels and discover a new adventure with the characters!

The Emerald Atlas | John Stephens | 2011 | Bought and read on my kindle.

Foreign Book Covers - Maggie Stiefvater

Hi everyone!

I will continue on my idea of showing you French and Italian book covers this week by unveiling Maggie Stiefvater covers for both her series!

Check out the other Foreign Book Covers you might have missed!


The Wolves Of Mercy Falls

If you need reminding, here are the US and UK covers:

US cover

UK cover

I like the UK covers and their designs, but I really love the US ones and the different colours, they are easier on the eye than the UK ones with their strong colours.


But check out the eerie French covers for this series:

Shiver / Fever (Linger) / Fusion (Forever)

Fusion is by far my favourite of all the Forever covers! I really love the font they are using for this series, with the little hearts in a letter of the title, and how each cover has a real personality.


And the Italian ones:

Shiver / Deeper (Linger)
Shiver: "A story of love and wolves"
Deeper: "Your destiny is within you"

I really like their simplicity and the gorgeously pink Deeper but they don't have enough personality for me, what do you think?


The Books of Faerie

Again, remind yourself of the US and UK ones:

US covers

UK covers

I don't really like the US covers to be honest and I love how Maggie Stiefvater's UK publisher is trying to give her a real identity and a recognisable style for her covers but I don't really like the strong red and blue colours. I love the design though!


The French covers copy the US ones:

The titles are literal translations of Lament and Ballad


And check out the Italian cover, my personal favourite:

I generally don't like covers with a real person on it but I find that this cover is particularly spot on! I really love it and I think it definitely captures the essence of the book. I can't wait to see what they make for Ballad!!

What do you guys think?
Which of the different covers for both series do you think suit the stories better?

I am quoted in a book!!!! :D

... well, not exactly me, but one of my reviews is!


 Okay, okay, I need to calm down but... 


So a few days ago I received an email from Melanie Welsh (M. L. Welsh), the wonderful author of Mistress of the Storm (my review here). She was telling me about the release of the paperback of the book and *cue hysterical screams* that I was quoted inside the book!

I really love this book and I think that Verity Gallant's story is one of the most adventurous and original stories I have read this past year! I can't wait to read the sequel, Heart Of Stone, which will be out in 2012! And if you buy the paperback edition of Mistress of the Storm, you can read a sneak preview of Heart of Stone!!

A million thanks to Melanie for sending me the book!