Young Adult Novels
Billy Elliott meets Breaking Bad in this YA novel of drugs, dreams and dead-end families. Set in the grimy, poverty-stricken, north-eastern wasteland of Sunderland, a place of derelict industry, charity shops, and people riding ‘benefit chariots’ – a town that is ironically currently bidding for the title European City of Culture.
Mickey Hall is a bright, friendly fifteen year-old from a chaotic family background – a feckless single-parent mother, a drug-addicted sister and a series of waster ‘dads’ – who realises that his life would become so much easier if he simply embraced a life of crime himself.
Having decided on this course of action he assembles a group of like-minded schoolfriends, and adopts a huge fighting dog called Maximus and, being both charming and very ruthless he sets out to become the number one drug dealer in town.
He also begins a relationship with the prettiest, coolest girl in school.
Things are going well until one afternoon he is abducted by a car full of adult gangsters who take him to a disused warehouse where he thinks they are going to murder him but instead he is introduced to the leader of the gang – his own father, a powerful, influential and affluent figure in the criminal underworld. He is quickly seduced deep into a life of crime by his new-found father’s wealth and power.
Eventually though, Mickey finds himself in a situation where he must choose between saving his family and betraying his father, forced to choose between old loyalties and his new found wealth and security.
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Kaska lives in a hope-free, dead-end town where the only growth industries are teenage pregnancy and low-level street disorder. She’s sixteen, a gifted artist and she’s dying by inches. She’s desperate to break free.
St. Claire has given up the dealing and the one-night stands; he’s renounced violence, dropped out of sight and moved up the coast. He’s living like a hermit, trying to be a good man again.
But as both Kaska and St. Claire discover, life gets in the way of the best-laid escape plans.
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15 year-old Dakota Scout comes from a world of fear and famine, a world of sudden storms, of feral dogs, and gangs of murderous ‘prowlers’ who torture and murder for sport. Our own world is ninety years past, and all that remains of humanity are tiny tribes who survive beyond the ruins of the ghostly city of Jago, living on their wits and their ability to endure the worst that nature and humankind can throw at them. One day, pursued by a gang of prowlers, Dakota flees into the basement of a crumbling building and finds herself in a tiny, sterile room with a small computer whose screen lights up and asks her when she wants to go. She spins a dial and, when she leaves the room, she emerges into present-day San Diego. She has traveled back through time into a world of plenty, a world of lights, a world in which cars move and windows aren’t all smashed and in which the people are safe and comfortable. Picked up by the police as a vagrant minor she is fostered by Dr. Jane Smith, and decides she will stay in this safe, protected world. She will go to school, she will make friends of girls her own age, she will forget the life she left behind. But the life she left behind hasn’t forgotten her. Prowlers, friends and a murderous boy named Jester are all searching for her, all determined to find her. And the man who designed the machine that took her back through time isn’t the only one to discover its secrets. Jago is the first novel in a YA fantasy trilogy: at times bleak and dark, it is not for the faint-hearted, yet it is filled with honesty and love, and it introduces an exceptional new character in Dakota Scout.