Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Carnegie Longlist Update

Just a brief note to update you on my progress on the CKG Carnegie longlist for 2013.  Since my last post I have read another bunch of generally good but not amazing books:

The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean by David Almond - a review I read reckoned this is 'David Almond's first book for adults', although it is published on a children's list in order to be eligible for Carnegie.  It is an odd book, clever story but the style (as if it is written by someone illiterate) was too offputting for me
Naked by Kevin Brooks - didn't think it was for children at all - was an adult reminiscing about teen angst rather than a teenager going through it.
Sektion 20 by Paul Dowswell - a bit too matter of fact - I sometimes felt that the historical accuracy, although very interesting, rather overshadowed the story.
Buzzing! by Anneliese Emmans Dean - a collection of nice poems about insects but not special enough for Carnegie
Trouble in Toadpool by Anne Fine - just too ridiculous overall, although some parts were quite funny.

The Seeing by Diana Hendry - unsettling short story, perhaps a little too short though, I think she could have extended the suspense more.
The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson - could have been written in the 1940s, the sexist attitudes certainly belong there, but a nice 'innocent' tale that is about as ridiculous as Trouble in Toadpool!
Black Arts: The Books of Pandemonium by Andrew Prentice and Jonathan Weil - quite exciting with some good plotting and suspense-building, but overly long.
Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid - some aspects were really well written but it was wholly predictable and tied up too neatly and happily at the end (sorry for the spoiler, but there is a happy ending!)
Pendragon Legacy: Sword of Light by Katherine Roberts - a bit of prior knowledge of the tales of Arthur really enhances this book, a good old fashioned adventure fantasy!
A Skull in Shadows Lane by Robert Swindells - another one that could have been written in the 1940s. I couldn't get over the name 'Jinty' and found it really dull.

These three could well have been in my initial shortlist if I'd read them earlier...
Spy For The Queen of Scots by Theresa Breslin - pretty exciting historical novel with fact and fiction well interwoven
The Broken Road by B.R. Collins - found it difficult to get into but the story and style was so honest and brutal in places, a very good book!
Unrest by Michelle Harrison - a clever story with an excellent twist, but not perfect - I thought some bits could have been bulked out while others could have been trimmed down.

but this one will actually kick something else off my personal shortlist...
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
took me a few pages to get into it but when I did, blimey, it is an amazing book!  Brilliant histiry, clever storytelling, totally believable characters and events.
Less than 2 months to go until the shortlist is announced and I have 17 left to read, I've been taking far too long to get through them, it is going to be a tight thing!


  1. I love your short, sharp, scalpel-edged reviews of these :)

  2. You're doing a great job...I might even get round to reading Code name Verity even if it doesn't make the short list!