I've intended for a while to do a post about Bath Spa University graduates. I first learned about the program from an online interview with fellow Bristol resident Elen Caldecott, author of the fun HOW KIRSTY JENKINS STOLE THE ELEPHANT. Elen is not the only Bath Spa graduate who has been published. Actually, in the program's short history (it's only been running a handful of years), there have been a number of successful graduates: Marie-Louise Jensen, C J Skuse, Sally Nichols, Alexandra Diaz, Jim Carrington, etc.
Throughout the year, I've searched out their books to read and have been extraordinarily impressed. It's been so inspirational for me to read really good writing and to know that that could be me in a few years. It's also very cool to read the acknowledgments. Frequently they thank their fellow classmates and Julia (my tutor--and I assume theirs as well!).
I've been meaning to write about several of these books, as they really are that good. But today I want to write about Lucy Christopher. A couple of months ago, I bought a copy of STOLEN by Lucy Christopher. She graduated from Bath Spa's Creative Writing MA (the Writing for Young People program wasn't yet in existence). She's also worked as a tutor on my program and is currently working on a PhD on Australian literature's representation of wild places.
I was blown away by STOLEN. Here's my review on Goodreads:
"Wow. One of the most powerful, complex YA books I have ever read. A chilling and gripping account of a teen girl's kidnapping and the progression of her feelings towards her captor. I will be thinking about this book for years to come. Also a beautiful rendering of the Australian outback, setting as character, making me dream of sand, sun and sky."
It's not just me who's been blown away.
Yesterday, Stolen won the Branford Boase prize and it has been shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards in Australia.
STOLEN was released in the US in May and the reviews have been astounding:
Maggie Stiefvater (NY Times Bestselling author of SHIVER) said:
"It’s got a great sense of place and the character development is just fantastic (I love me some trauma), but the thing I liked best was that as Gemma, the main character, spends more time in the presence of her kidnapper, the author very, very, very skillfully messes with our brains just like Gemma’s brain is getting messed with. It makes for a very complex read with no easy answers, just like I like ‘em. I loved how all of the motivations were thoroughly grounded in past history; we get a profile of the kidnapper as a human, not just as a stick figure. As a teen, I would have adored this book even more."
For the full review, click here. Even more exciting, Maggie's offered to blurb the paperback version.
Courtney Summers (author of CRACKED UP TO BE, one of my FAVORITES, reviewed here) said in her Goodreads review:
"Absolutely stunning. What a beautifully intense book. Incredibly vivid setting, but not overwritten. A testament to Christopher's talent that I'm as conflicted as Gemma is... " (have to cut off there, as it gets into spoiler territory)
Nova Ren Suma, author of DANI NOIR, has been twittering about it:.
"There goes a productive night of revising. Just picked up STOLEN by Lucy Christopher."
"I had to force myself to leave STOLEN by Lucy Christopher at home today. Nothing would have been accomplished otherwise. So gripping."
"Twitter: STOLEN by Lucy Christopher is by far one of the best YA novels I've read all year. Awe. I am in it."
All of this excitement is completely deserved. I'm so pleased to see a really good book getting exactly the kind of publicity it should. Even better? How exciting to see a fellow student doing so well. And if you haven't read Stolen yet? What are you waiting for?
Well, OK... here's the amazing trailer:
Now go read it!