Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.

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"Helen and I tried to spend all our time together after that. I think that week or so after the clinic were the best we ever had together. It was as if we were one person, bound up in each other’s present. The future and the past were outer space."

Dear Nobody

Carnegie winner: 1991
Author: Berlie Doherty

Told in the form of a diary spanning nine months, Dear Nobody captures the almost breathless intensity of first love and the point in adolescence when the future and possibilities seem to stretch forth expansively.  The novel recounts the experiences of Chris and Helen, both studying for their A-levels, both holding a burgeoning sense of independence and both deeply in love with one another.  Far from following the predictable route of a romantic storyline, however, here we find the two characters tip-toeing anxiously around one another, desperately trying to build a secure relationship and yet struggling to find expression for their individual wants and needs.

Their relationship is made all the more complex when, following a night together, Helen becomes pregnant.  There’s a deeply impressive quality to the emotional charge that both characters have and to the ways in which they develop and grow – sometimes together, but often apart – due to decisions and experiences they have individually.  For Chris, this involves reaching a heightened level of understanding regarding the separation of his parents and building a new relationship with his estranged mother.  For Helen it is around the gradual acceptance of her pregnancy, the choices she has to make because of this and the consequences this involves for her.

There is a complex and sophisticated relationship between parents and children in the book and, as both protagonists are on the cusp of adulthood, there’s an increasing awareness that the views and opinions parents and guardians often hold are sometimes driven as much by their own vision and desires, as by what actually feels right for their offspring.  

Sensitive, lyrical and avoiding any sensation, this is a gripping story that stimulates thinking around the types of choices and the nature of the decision making we face in our lives.


parenting / pregnancy /


Why we chose this book ...

"We have chosen this book because we think it will be interesting and moving to look into the lives and feelings of people in different situations to us as we feel that it is inciteful and thought provoking."