Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection by Kiera Cass (June 2012, HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks, ISBN: 0007466692)

The Selection is the first book in the series and is set in a dystopian America now called Illea. Society is now structured into castes with One being the Royal Family and Eight being the lowest worker. America Singer is a Five and is in love with Aspen, a Six.

It is tradition for the princes of the Royal Family to choose a bride via the Selection process – where one girl from each of the 35 provinces is sent to the palace and the numbers decrease until the Prince finds his mate.

At the beginning of the book, the letters have gone out to all young women eligible for the Selection which includes America. She does not want to enter as she is in love with Aspen and wants to marry him despite it being a downgrade in status. He, however, persuades her to enter anyway and when they break-up due to his pride she is grateful for the opportunity to get away when she is chosen for the Selection.

Prince Maxon is the young man looking for a bride and is not as stuffy and as arrogant as America fears and indeed they strike up a friendship. America makes it clear she has no feelings for him however she cannot control his...

As the Selection process progresses America gets to learn more about the state of the country and experiences two Rebel advances on the palace. And when an old acquaintance joins the palace staff, she becomes confused about why she is at the palace and what she should do about her growing feelings for Maxon.

The Selection wasn't what I was expecting – I was worried about it being all catty and nasty with all those girls competing, however there is only one spiteful girl with the rest bonding together – as even the girls who don't get chosen get a permanent increase in caste and other benefits. In fact not a great deal happens in The Selection, it very much sets the scene for the next books, and I hope these contain plot threads about the state of the country and how Illea can be improved, in addition to America's love life. Nonetheless it was an enjoyable read and there is a lot of potential for a more dramatic continuation of the series.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 longlist

The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 longlist was announced this week.

From the press release:
The books longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal are:

My Brother's Shadow by Tom Avery (Andersen Press)

Us Minus Mum by Heather Butler (Little Brown, Young Readers)

When Mr. Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)

The Company of Ghosts by Berlie Doherty (Andersen Press)

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster Children's Books)

Tinder by Sally Gardner (author) and David Roberts (illustrator) (Orion Children's Books)

Monkey and Me by David Gilman (Templar)

Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children's Books)

The Fastest Boy in the World by Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan Children's Books)

Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman (Walker Books)

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press)

The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne Books)

Hello Darkness by Anthony McGowan (Walker Books)

More Than This by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)

Close Your Pretty Eyes by Sally Nicholls (Marion Lloyd Books)

Trouble by Non Pratt (Walker Books)

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff (Penguin Books)

Smart: a Mysterious Crime, a Different Detective by Kim Slater (Macmillan Children's Books)

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (Electric Monkey)

The shortlist for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2015 will be announced on Tuesday 17th March, with the winner being announced on Monday 22nd June at a special event at the British Library.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Publishing Deal - Jennifer Donnelly

This sounds fab!

From The Bookseller:
Hot Key Books has acquired a new standalone fiction title from Carnegie Medal winning author Jennifer Donnelly in a six-figure pre-empt deal.

Junior editor at Hot Key Books, Naomi Colthurst, struck a deal for UK and Commonwealth rights to These Shallow Graves [] These Shallow Graves is described as “a return to the style of A Gathering Light, with a thrilling plot that is part murder mystery and part historical romance”.

The book centres on Josephine Montfort, a girl from one of New York’s oldest, most respected, and wealthiest families. Jo’s future looks set for marriage she has other dreams and desires that make her long for a more meaningful and exciting life as an investigative journalist like her heroine Nellie Bly. However, when her father is found dead in his study after an alleged accident, her life becomes far more exciting than she would wish.

Colthurst said: “These Shallow Graves is everything a historical novel for young adults should be – Jennifer deftly illustrates an exciting and dangerous time for New York whilst keeping her characters and story wonderfully vivid and completely relatable for a modern audience. Jo is a fantastic heroine who I know will inspire a whole new generation of Jennifer’s readers to be brave and question the status quo, in just the same way Mattie from A Gathering Light inspired me.”

Hot Key will publish These Shallow Graves simultaneously in hardback with Delacorte in the US in October 2015.