CKG review: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

With just 24 hours to go until the winners are announced, we continue our reviews of the CKG 2018 shortlisted titles. Here Emma shares her thoughts on Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick:

What the publisher says…

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

https://www.hachettechildrens.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781444011258

Saint Death

 

What we say…

Saint Death is absolutely gripping from start to finish. It’s a pulsating narrative and the pace and urgency of the plot, along with the increasing desperation of the main character, Arturo, are perfectly reflected in the structure of the story, in which short chapters are interspersed with newspaper cuttings, quotations and thoughts.

The setting is one of the main things that really stood out for me with this book. Sedgwick is uncompromising in throwing the reader straight into the harsh reality of Arturo’s world.

Just as the city of Juarez (which pulses off the page) has an unceasing hold over Arturo, this book had a hold over me – I read it in a day and continued thinking about it long afterwards. This is a really immersive novel that highlights some big issues around immigration, inequality and hope / desolation; and definitely meets the criteria of “having gone through a vicarious, but at the time of reading, a real experience that is retained afterwards.”

Emma

See Marcus Sedgwick talk about Saint Death here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=7

View the full CKG 2018 shortlists here:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

 

Read Along With Us: Carnegie regional nominations

There’s just under a week to go until we’ll be deciding what our regional nominations for this year’s Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards will be. We’ll be asking attendees at next Tuesday’s event with Cressida Cowell to vote on a selection of titles, to decide which ones we put forward.

All nominations for the 2018 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards will be officially announced on 6th November 2017. The longlist will be announced in February 2018, the shortlist will be unveiled in March, and the winners will be revealed on 18th June 2018.

We’ll have copies of the books available for you to look at on the night. In the meantime, here are our thoughts on the titles we’re asking you to consider for the Carnegie nomination, and why we think they are worthy contenders for the awards. We’ll be posting about our Greenaway suggestions soon.

 

Carnegie:

Overheard in a Tower Block – Joseph Coelho (Otter Barry Books)

Overheard in a tower block

Publisher comment: “Award-winning poet Joseph Coelho’s astonishing new collection is a powerful and moving poetic narrative about growing up in the city.”

Our thoughts: “Ambitious in theme, the collected poems are held together by an overarching narrative of a boy living in an urban tower block and growing from late childhood to early adulthood. The everyday experiences of childhood are made extraordinary here through astute observation and dexterity of word play – parental discord, peer pressure and the ever-expanding sense of horizons and world-views extending outwards. Each poem offers a childlike vantage point, but collated together there are profound comments about the nature of late childhood, its shift towards adulthood and responsibility and the continuing role it is able to play in determining and defining our lives.” (Jake)

 

Wed Wabbit – Lissa Evans (David Fickling Books)

Wed Wabbit

Publisher comment: “Wed Wabbit is an adventure story about friendship, danger and the terror of never being able to get back home again. And it’s funny. It’s really, really funny.”

Our thoughts: “Lissa Evans’ truly unique writing style combines fantasy and humour to convey complex and difficult ideas with heart and emotional insight. The majority of the story takes place against the surreal and often absurd backdrop of ‘The Land of Wimbley Woos’ yet excellent plotting and characterisation ensure that the sense of jeopardy and eventual resolution feel real. This is a surprising read that takes the reader on an unexpected but rewarding journey.” (Lizzie)

 

Welcome to Nowhere – Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Welcome to nowherePublisher comment: “Elizabeth Laird has succeeded again in writing an incredibly powerful novel, this time about one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our age.” (Belinda Rasmussen, Publisher, Macmillan Children’s Books)

Our thoughts: “Everyone should read this book ! It gives an accessible account of Syrias descent into civil war. It begins in Bosra and follows 12 year old Omar and his family ,as their lives fall apart and they lose everything. Their hopes for the future had been so normal ! Omar wants to be a business man , his sister Eman a teacher . His older brother Musa has cerebral palsy and is greatly underestimated by his family. As the bombs fall they have to leave everything and end up in a refugee camp .

Beautifully written , well researched ,powerful and atmospheric . It contains a message of hope” (Ann)

 

Saint Death – Marcus Sedgwick (Orion Children’s Books)

Saint DeathPublisher comment: “A powerful and timely thriller set on the Mexican-US border.”

Our thoughts: Saint Death is absolutely gripping from start to finish. It’s a pulsating narrative and the pace and urgency of the plot, along with the increasing desperation of the main character, are perfectly reflected in the structure of the story, in which short chapters are interspersed with newspaper cuttings, quotations and thoughts. This is a really immersive novel that highlights some big issues around immigration, inequality and hopelessness. (Emma)

 

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (Walker Books)

The Hate U GivePublisher comment: “A powerful and brave YA novel about what prejudice looks like in the 21st century.”

Our thoughts: “The Hate U Give gave me bags under my eyes! I just couldn’t stop reading until I finished it (at 3am!). The book addresses some really big issues, such as police shootings of unarmed black people and white privilege, through simply telling the story of one ordinary girl, Starr Carter, who finds herself in an extraordinary and horrific situation, having witnessed the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend by an officer. The balance of the awful things Starr is having to deal with and the everyday teenage-ness of her character is perfect and the strong family dynamic of the Carters is a joy to experience. (Emma)

 

Encounters – Jason Wallace (Andersen Press)

EncountersPublisher comment: “Inspired by true accounts, this is the long-awaited new novel from Costa-award-winner Jason Wallace.”

Our thoughts: Wallace builds an intense and uneasy atmosphere in which he unravels the brutal complexities of his characters’ lives. This is a work of technical mastery with no less than six engaging and convincing narratives pivoting around the mysterious event at the heart of the novel.  These six apparently disparate voices interconnect in surprising and revealing ways bringing new meaning to the idea of the titular ‘encounter’. The end result is a unique and outstanding slow burner of a book which leaves the reader with much to think about. (Lizzie)

So those are our thoughts on our Carnegie suggestions, please do let us know your thoughts on these books. You can find out more about the CKG awards process and the judging criteria here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/awards-process.php

Don’t forget, YLG members can also make up to two individual nominations for each award.