CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist for 2010
Judges' comments are listed in italics
Please note: the 'age range' listed below is intended as a guide only, as determined by the 2010 judging panel
ANDERSON, LAURIE HALSE CHAINS
As the Revolutionary War rages in 18th century America, Isabel and her sister Ruth are slaves, sold to a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons. Having lost their mother, Isabel vows to protect her younger sister and keep hold of the one important thing in their lives – hope.
A thrilling and page-turning novel that is extremely believable and well-constructed, giving fresh insights into the subject of slavery. Isabel is an outstanding character and the power of her spirit and self-belief is beautifully conveyed.
GAIMAN, NEIL THE GRAVEYARD BOOK
Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, would be a completely normal boy if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts. For it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks, a danger that has already killed Bod's family.
A fantastic story full of humour, humanity and wonderfully drawn characters. The beginning manages to be horrifying without a single mention of blood, and though episodic in its structure, the story comes together beautifully at the end.
GRANT, HELEN THE VANISHING OF KATHARINA LINDEN
On the day Katherina Linden disappears, Pia is the last person to see her alive. Terror is spreading through the small German town where she lives. How could a ten year old girl vanish in a place where everybody knows everybody else? Come what may, Pia is determined to find out what happened.
An accomplished, darkly comic debut novel which grips the reader as it builds its macabre layers to a horrifying conclusion. Its German setting, and Pia's family are extremely well captured as are the dark undercurrents in small-town society.
HEARN, JULIE ROWAN THE STRANGE
Rowan knows he is strange. But is he dangerous? He didn't mean to scare his sister. In his right mind, he wouldn't hurt a fly. But now he's been sent to a place where they say they can fix his not right mind. Beyond the bars on the window, England is at war. Behind them, Rowan's own battle is beginning.
A hard-hitting but brilliantly descriptive and expressive novel which takes the reader on a journey to the heart of some difficult subject matter. Brutal at times, this is also a moving and compassionate story that really stays with you.
NESS, PATRICK THE ASK AND THE ANSWER
Fleeing a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Separated from her, and imprisoned, Todd is forced to submit to the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside town? Where is Viola? And who are the mysterious Answer?
A visceral and compelling story of incredible power which combines some fantastic writing with intelligent consideration of some important issues: the nature of war, terrorism and the treatment of women. A challenging novel which really lives inside your head.
PRATCHETT, TERRY NATION
On the day the world ends, Mau is on his way home from the Boys' Island. Soon he will be a man. And then the wave comes, and only Mau; a strange trouserman girl and a parrot are left alive to pick up the pieces. Together they must forge a new Nation, but they soon discover that the old history isn't going to lie down and go away.
A witty and wise story about Darwinism, the nature of nationhood, what it means to be a man, and much else. Rich in ideas and detail; terrific, believable characters, and some wonderful turns of phrase, it entertains whilst saying much that is important.
REEVE, PHILIP FEVER CRUMB
London is days away from war, and a terrifying new enemy is on the attack – huge armoured fortresses that move across the wastelands. Buried in London's past however is a secret that may save it from destruction. And the key to unlocking that secret is an orphan called Fever Crumb.
An exciting and atmospheric story with lots of humour, wit and a skilfully handled narrative. The construction of the world is extremely well done, the theory of memory cleverly explored, and the whole adventure hangs together beautifully.
SEDGWICK, MARCUS REVOLVER
It's 1910. In a cabin north of the Arctic Circle, in a place that is murderously cold and desolate, Sig Andersson is alone. Except for the corpse of his father, frozen to death that morning when he fell through the ice on the lake. Soon however, a sinister stranger comes calling, and as his tale of gold lust unfolds, Sig's thoughts turn to his father's Colt revolver, hidden in the storeroom.
A sparse, taut and claustrophobic story that really pulls you in and makes the reader inhabit its bleak environment. From its fantastic opening line to the twist at the end, nothing is wasted in this visually arresting book which covers some big moral questions despite its short length.