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CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist for 2009
Judges’ comments are listed in italics
The ‘age range’ listed below is intended as a guide only,
as determined by the 2009 judging panel.
FRANK COTTRELL COSMIC
Macmillan (Age range: 8+)
Liam Digby is tall for his age. Very tall. Everyone thinks he is
too big to be a little boy anymore, but he isn’t old enough
to be a grown-up either. In a world where everyone wants to grow
up fast; and then stay young forever, things get very confusing
for Liam, especially when he ends up lost – in space.
Frank Cottrell Boyce has a wonderful ear for dialogue and is
a master of comic pathos. The off-the-wall humour and comic language
he employs here makes this a very funny book. He manages to make
a bizarre premise seem quite plausible, the characters develop well
and the result is an astute and profound book about childhood and
the father-son relationship.
KEVIN BLACK RABBIT SUMMER
Puffin (Age range: 14+)
Pete Boland was busy doing nothing that long hot summer. Then Nicole
called. “Listen Pete…you know that funfair up at the
recreation ground…I thought we could all meet up…You
know, for old times sake”. But old times mean old tensions,
and as secrets, bitterness and jealousies resurface, five old friends
are plunged into the worst night of their lives.
The reader can really feel the sticky heat as Brooks builds
up the sense of an interminable and stifling summer. He employs
the devices of a detective novel to give us a powerful and tense
read, whilst brilliantly conveying the inner tensions of his characters’
relationships. A book that really gets inside the minds of teenagers.
Puffin (Age range: 9+)
Conor Broekhart was born to fly. In an age of discovery and invention,
many dreamed of flying but for Conor, flight is more than just a
dream – it is his destiny. In one dark night on the island
of Great Saltee, a cruel and cunning betrayal destroys his life
and steals his future. Conor must win the race for flight to save
his family, and to right a terrible wrong.
This is a rollicking read; a terrific tale of derring-do in
which Colfer combines brilliant plotting with his customary humour
and strong well-rounded characterisation. There is plenty to enjoy
in the understated irony and the excellent descriptions of historical
gadgets and inventions, but this book also has a convincing and
engaging emotional reality.
SIOBHAN BOG CHILD
David Fickling Books (Age range: 12+)
Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds
something that makes his heart stop. Curled up deep in the bog is
the body of the child. And it looks as if she’s been murdered.
As Fergus tries to make sense of the troubled world around him (it
is 1980s Ireland), a little voice come to him in his dreams and
the mystery of the bog child unfurls.
This is a beautifully written and controlled novel, strong
on dialogue but with some beautiful descriptive phrases as well.
The dual narrative is deftly done and Dowd is very good on family
relationships and the atmosphere of the times. The ending is satisfying,
and the whole believable and unflinching.
KEITH OSTRICH BOYS
Definitions (Age range: 12+)
Kenny, Sim and Blake are about to embark on a remarkable journey.
Stealing the urn that contains the ashes of their best friend Ross,
they set out to travel 261 miles from Cleethorpes on the English
east coast, to the tiny hamlet of Ross in southern Scotland, in
a bid to give their friend a proper send-off.
A beautifully realised rite of passage novel, very strong on
the relationships between its central characters and accurate about
the emotions of teenage boys. The dialogue is particularly powerful
and the pace of the plot just right in this authentic book about
the end of childhood and the beginning of adult lives.
PATRICK THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO
Walker (Age range: 14+)
Todd Hewitt is the last boy in Prentisstown, a town like no other
where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant,
overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy and there
are no secrets. Or are there? Just one month away from the birthday
that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of
complete silence. And now he is going to have to run…
A bleak and unflinching novel with fascinating characters and
extraordinary dialogue which creates a fully-realised world that
the reader really buys into. The dog Manchee is an inspired creation!
Ness conveys a real sense of terror and the ending is devastating.
A novel that really stands out.
KATE CREATURE OF THE NIGHT
Bodley Head (Age range: 14+)
When Bobby’s mother moves the family into a rented house
in the country, a neighbour tells him that a child was once murdered
there. Bobby doesn’t care. All he wants is to get back to
Dublin and resume his old life stealing cars. But getting his old
life back turns out to be difficult, especially as the longer he
spends in the old cottage, the more convinced he becomes that something
strange is going on there.
A profoundly moving and believable novel by a natural storyteller
which really gets the teenage experience. The language is strong
but not gratuitous, the story gripping and powerful, and Bobby a
character you care about despite his wayward tendencies.