Discussing The Roanoke Girls with Amy Engels

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Hi Amy, welcome to Teen Librarian, now at the moment you are best-known for the YA Book of Ivy series but (strangely for a Teen Library blog) we are not going to be discussing those today, rather we are going to focus on your first novel for adults: The Roanoke Girls.

The proof of which I must say was the darkest and one of the most twistedly brilliant books that I read last year.
 
But before we get into the book would you like to introduce yourself to the audience?

Well, as you said, I’m the author of The Book of Ivy YA series and The Roanoke Girls is my first novel for adults. I am a former criminal defense attorney and now work as a full-time writer. I live in Missouri with my husband and two teenage children.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but to my mind at its heart The Roanoke Girls is about being a woman and what women face now and throughout history – objectification, having to pander to the needs and desires of others, hatred, abandonment, being replaced and murder!

Yes to all of that! I’ve always been interested in the ways in which women are viewed by society and also by the sometimes fraught relationships women have with one another. I’m fascinated by how women often turn on one another, rather than on the person who has wronged them. And on the flip side of that, the ways in which women are valued, or devalued, by society is of tremendous interest to me as a writer. Women are so often viewed as a commodity, valued for their beauty and their ability to act a certain way. The blaming of female victims, both blatantly and subtly, for their own abuse is also something I wanted to tackle.

The Roanoke Girls made me think of two quintessential American art-works American Gothic by Grant Wood and Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth in my mind I identified Allegra quite strongly with both the women portrayed in the paintings. Similarly Roanoke reminded me of Manderley from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and the themes made me recall the discovery of Flowers in the Attic in the Library by a group of students when I was in school – it caused a rush of students reading together and discussing it in hushed tones in the corridor which stopped whenever someone walked past. What were your inspirations for writing The Roanoke Girls?

You are spot on with the Rebecca reference. The first line of The Roanoke Girls is actually my own homage to Rebecca. Growing up, I was fascinated by gothic novels and so those have a huge influence on the book. I also took inspiration from Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. That book evoked such a strong sense of place and I knew I wanted to try and do the same with The Roanoke Girls. My hope was to transport the readers to the world of Roanoke as they were reading. I was also somewhat inspired by my own work as a criminal defense attorney. I think people have a tendency to judge victims by the characteristics of the perpetrator of the crime. So if you have someone who looks like a monster and acts like a monster, then the victim is more likely to be believed. But what about someone who seduces rather than forces? Who charms rather than assaults? Then people are much more likely to blame or disbelieve the victim, I’ve found. And I definitely wanted to explore those feelings and ideas in the book.
amy-engel-trish-brown-photography

The interactions between Lane and Allegra seemed very real to me do you have any close cousins or siblings that you based their relationship on?

Interestingly enough, I have no siblings and my cousins are much younger than I am and live far away. But because of that void, I always had very strong female friendships growing up. My best friends and I were inseparable and they took the place of siblings for me. I think female friendships, especially as teenagers, can sometimes take on slightly obsessive undertones, so I drew on that for the relationship between Lane and Allegra.

At times The Roanoke Girls made uncomfortable reading – which I suppose is the point, without giving away too many spoilers were there any parts of the story that you found difficult to write?

The interludes from the points of view of the past Roanoke girls were probably the most difficult to write from a purely emotional standpoint.

You tell the story of Lane, Allegra and the other inhabitants of Roanoke and Osage Flats through Lane unpicking the contemporary mystery of Allegra’s disappearance and flashbacks to the summer that Lane lived at Roanoke – how much planning went into the writing as it all flows so seamlessly?

First of all, thank you. You never really know if a past/present narrative is going to work until people begin reading it, so I’m gratified to know it’s being well-received. In answer to your question, not much planning at all. I don’t outline when I write, not even with a dual timeline narrative such as this one. And I didn’t write all of the present day portion and then go back and insert the past. I wrote the book as it’s meant to be read: a “then” section and then a “now” section, etc. I did go back and add in the interludes from the other Roanoke girls after the first draft was finished. For some reason, it wasn’t difficult for me to keep it all straight in my head as I was unspooling it. More proof, I think, that sometimes writing is a kind of magic.

The online response to The Roanoke Girls has been phenomenal – did you expect this when you first started writing it?

Ummm…no? I mean, at the time I was writing it, the first Ivy book had been published, but I knew I’d need a new publisher for this book because it was adult. So I didn’t even know if it would ever see the light of day. I hoped, of course, that it would be published and people would like it, but I knew it was dark and would be too disturbing for some readers. So the reaction thus far has been amazing and I’m so, so grateful.

If you had to describe the novel in six words or less to entice a potential reader what would you say?

Oh, I’m such crap at this sort of thing, but I’ll give it at try! How about:

Dark, disturbing, character-driven psychological suspense.

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!

Give up Ignorance for Lent: Poster

Twitter helps me creatively fairly regularly. Coming up with (half) witty statements in a limited character set really helps to focus the mind! On Tuesday I posted this:

This morning I started building a display around it and created a poster.

You can download a pdf of the poster by clicking on the image below

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler, John Jennings and Damian Duffy

I’m black, I’m solitary, I’ve always been an outsider!
~ Octavia E. Butler

Octavia Butler has been described as the greatest science fiction writer of her generation, not the greatest female science fiction writer or the greatest African-American science fiction writer, she is simply put, one of the greatest! Her words cut across class, race and gender and have found a home in the collections of millions of readers the world over!

She was awarded two Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards and the PEN Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also the first science fiction writer to win a MacArthur “Genius” fellowship.

Kindred is one of her best-known novels; the tale of Dana, a modern young woman swept back in time to an earlier period in history, in this case the antebellum South, a time of cotillions, southern gallantry and all very romantic unless, like Dana, you happen to be black…

Kindred is a story of contrasts, of kindness, humanity and cruelty, of a modern world (in this case 1970’s California) where people are free to live their life and marry whomever they please and a time where people are treated as chattel, bought, sold an abused as they are considered less than human.

This graphic novel version of Kindred, adapted by Damian Duffy and John Jennings with the agreement of the estate of Octavia E. Butler is a beautiful hardcover, with an eye-catching dust jacket that looks as perfect on a shelf with novels as it does with other works of graphic art.

Damian Duffy has pared back Octavia’s text, preserving the essential story but making it flow perfectly for this graphic adaptation; John Jennings brings the text to life with his amazing artwork, imbuing the characters with movement on the page without glossing over the bloody and brutal mistreatment of humans by their fellow man. He has captured the cold cruelty of the slave owners in contrast with the pain and damaged humanity of the slaves. This is not a pretty story, no matter the beautiful artwork that adorns the pages; indeed it is shocking to modern liberal sensibilities and makes uncomfortable reading to be confronted by callous indifference to human suffering, but is necessary to remind ourselves how easy it is for us to dehumanise others and although we have come far, there is still a distance to go before we treat each other equally.

Kindred is rightly considered a classic of the science fiction & literary genres. Duffy & Jennings’ version is a perfect gateway for readers to encounter Octavia’s work.

Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Octavia Butler, illustrated by John Jennings and adapted by Damian Duffy. Published by Abrams ComicArts (£15.99)

#TeenLibrarian Monthly: February

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Splitting the Atom Carnegie

Please note this post is a flight of fancy possibly brought on by the rather strong medication my GP gave me yesterday, or just a stray thought that hung around in my brain…

Scientific history note: The atom was first split in 1919 by Ernest Rutherford at the University of Manchester

The Carnegie Medal has been awarded to the most outstanding Children’s Book almost every year since 1936 (except in 1943, 1945 & 1966 as no titles were considered suitable).

In recent years the Medal has been awarded to books aimed at an older readership, this has prompted a number of comments over the years from observers that perhaps it is time for the Medal to be split into an older and younger award.

In 2015, then Chair of the CKG Judges panel Agnes Guyon penned a wonderful post on why splitting the Medal is not an option, you can read this here: https://www.cilip.org.uk/blog/cilip-carnegie-kate-greenaway-award-message-2015-chair-judges

Currently all books published under the umbrella of “Children’s Books” are eligible to be nominated for the Carnegie Medal, but until the publishing world starts differentiating between Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Teen Fiction and Young Adult Fiction it will not be possible for CILIP to even consider dividing up titles into Children’s & MG for a Carnegie Junior and Teen & YA fiction for a Carnegie Senior.

Let us say for the purpose of this post that publishers and authors did agree to start adding these sub-headings into Children’s Fiction, then it is conceivable that the Carnegie could be split.

Once all eligible titles had been nominated for a particular year, the first year judges could read towards a long-list for the Carnegie Junior Medal and second year Judges could read for long-listing the Senior Medal.

Once both long-lists had been announced the short-listing process could involve the entire Judging panel or perhaps it would be best to wait until the short-lists have been announced for the combined panel to choose the most outstanding books.

With the ever-expanding list of nominated titles this is a way that the lists could be kept manageable.

Anyway as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, it is just a stray thought that I considered as an intellectual exercise, I am a supporter of a single medal for all Children’s Books! At least until a workable alternative can be developed

The CILIP CKG 2017 Controversy

Full disclosure: I am a member of CILIP and a former judge for the 2015 & 16 CILIP CKG Medals so this may open me up to accusations of bias but I also have an inside understanding of how the Medals process works from nominations to the awarding of the medals. I will lay out the whole process as briefly as possible while not excluding any information.

The long-lists were announced last week Thursday and while initially well-received there was a growing groundswell of discontent at the lack of Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) on the lists.

It has been called “a deliberate snub”

“Appalling”

and other less complimentary terms.
Over the years the judging panel have been accused of many things including: being overwhelmingly female – and thus unable to fairly judge books that may have been written for a male readership, being too middle class – and therefore not being able to fairly judge a book written from a working class perspective and now being unable to fairly judge BAME books due to white privilege.

It is worth remembering that all titles are nominated by Librarians, this shows that the profession as a whole does seek out to reward diversity no matter the ethnic make-up of the majority of the members.

As a panel the judges disregard what is going on in other awards as the CKG medals are not a popularity contest and decisions rest solely on how titles measure up to the criteria which are often radically different to those in other awards. In comparison to other literary awards the CKG Awards are also fairly rare as all the judges read all the nominated titles.

Diversity in awards is important, if all awards focused on the same titles there would be no scope for the out of the ordinary books as often with CKG winners the books are not the most popular but rather those that (in the opinion of the panel) best capture the criteria.

There is one judge per YLG region in the UK as well as the Chair of Judges, the CKG Coordinator, Chair of the YLG National Committee and the Chair-elect who do not vote but use their experience and knowledge to guide the judging panel.

Each judge brings their years of experience of reading and evaluating books for children and young people, honed by the rigorous training before we sit on the panel to the group which is made up of a mix of first and second year judges – a combination of fresh eyes and experience.

Being a CKG Judge is an enormous privilege. It is also an enormously time-consuming process that takes control of an individual’s life for two years as reading 100 + books is not easy when one is juggling a career, home-life and in many cases children (my wife and I having our daughter at the outset of my second year as a judge almost did me in). Often Judges have to take unpaid leave from work to attend the selection meetings in London. Not everyone is able to take on this amazing challenge.

The accusations levelled at the sitting judges is difficult to bear as they are unable to respond due to the possibility of breaching the confidentiality of the judging process. It is not easy for a former judge to hear either as the accusations blanket all of us.

I am aware that the word racism was not used and a number of individuals have written incredibly persuasively that no one is accusing CKG judges of being closet racists but it is hard not to feel stung by the accusation that we have been purposefully side-lining BAME authors.

Having said that, I can begin to imagine that for BAME authors the feeling that you are not loved or wanted by Librarians can be even more distressing and painful. This is not just because I know and am on cordial speaking terms with a number of BAME authors but also I am a fan of theirs and many others work.

Out of interest I looked back at the 2016 Carnegie nominations and at a cursory glance I saw six BAME authors that I know had been nominated, three of these made the long-list.

In 2015 there were six nominations and no listings.

In 2014 there were three BAME nominations but no listings.

Prior to 2014 all nominations were automatically long-listed.

The paucity of BAME authors in the CKG listings is evidence of problems greater than the perceived short-comings of the award process.

The Carnegie Medal celebrates its 80th anniversary this year and people online have used this as a stick to beat the awards with saying that in 80 years it is disgraceful that a BAME author has never won. Over the weekend I started looking in to when the first BAME children’s authors were published in the UK, I am pretty sure that it was not in the 1930’s and I will not stop digging until I have found an answer, this is not to say that we should not be concerned about the lack of BAME authors but blaming a symptom rather than addressing the cause may be counter-productive.

Within publishing there is a distinct lack of diversity, this is in the process of changing but it will take years until the number of BAME authored titles published in the UK accurately reflects the population.

Library staff are not immune from a lack of diversity across the board either, ethnic monitoring with CILIP membership is optional utilising a tick box so it is hard to know exact numbers but the profession is overwhelmingly Caucasian.

I know from my experience on the London Youth Libraries Group Committee that the special interest groups regularly require fresh blood due to members stepping down and posts becoming available so if you are a Librarian of BAME heritage and have an interest in becoming involved with the CKG Awards please do consider joining CILIP if you are not already a member and sign up to a YLG regional committee or express interest in joining if there are no committee vacancies currently available.

If you are unsure about the cost of membership you can ask your employer to subsidise the membership fee as many employers do pay for employee membership of professional organisations.

Having also read CILIP C.E.O. Nick Poole’s response to criticism of the awards regarding a level playing field (and please note I am not speaking on his behalf) I think we can all agree that BAME authors and BAME citizens in general have never faced a level playing field with regard to publishing or life in the UK in general but in regard to the context in which books are read and considered against the set criteria – all the books are assessed equally.

I am aware that a number of authors and groups have been in contact with CILIP to open a discussion on the awards, their future and to make sure that no-one feels excluded, victimised or marginalised.

I support this endeavour and hope that we can all move forward together to ensure a future where all citizens of the UK feel included and see themselves represented in the Awards.

How authors, publishers & publicists can help

Be more vocal about books that are being published, this is really important if books are published close to or on the cut-off date (31st October) – Librarians are only human, we do not have the 100 eyes of Argus and sometimes miss things. It is usually not the books that massive publicity events accompanying the launch; it is the books that slip out with little to no fanfare, if you have a book that you feel hits most if not all the criteria then let us know, I know with librarians often the biggest problem we have is talking about ourselves – I am guessing it may be similar with many authors (that is why there are publicists), make sure that some proofs go to librarians (I am happy to help if publicists are not sure where to send books I can put you in contact with library friends and colleagues that read and review books as well as are active with nominating titles.

How librarians can help

Get involved with nominating, even if you are not directly involved with children’s and young people’s librarianship, all members of CILIP are eligible to nominate titles. If you are not sure what books to look at or read – ask a CYP or School Librarian for a suggestion, we love recommending books. Stop the breast-beating about guilt by association – if you feel strongly about it get stuck in, if you see the management level of the profession moving slowly or not at all then affect professional change from the grassroots.
Nothing happens in a vacuum, everything we do effects a change elsewhere – a greater demand for BAME titles will cause an uptick in publication, the more books that are published means more nominations, the more nominations there are means a greater chance of being listed and the increased chance for more books to be published.

What happens if nothing is done?

I have seen calls for a Carnegie boycott, authors calling on their publishers not to involve their books. All nominated titles will still be read, and if it is decided that a book by an author that later recuses themself from the award is chosen then it is possible that a no award will occur, years where no titles have been selected are incredibly rare but they have happened in the history of the award.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

Although the CKG Awards are often regarded as monolithic and unchanging, the rules and regulations governing them are looked at, considered and updated on a regular basis.

The most recent update that springs to mind is the addition of the illustrator’s name to illustrated novels nominated for the Carnegie Medal in 2016 http://www.thebookseller.com/news/illustrators-included-carnegie-nominations-314750

I have also heard through the grapevine that CILIP is working on making the profession more diverse, but as with every initiative this will take time.

This Beats Perfect blog tour

Working as a Music TV Producer for Rockfeedback was easily the most fun, exciting and exhausting job I ever had in television. What could be better than traipsing the world filming your heroes and being occasionally paid for it?

I spent countless hours backstage at festivals running around arranging interviews and live filming for bands and one of the things that never ceases to surprise is how dreary backstage areas can be.

The image of wild, all night parties is not generally the reality (although these do definitely exist!) Firstly, bands are often on gruelling tour schedules and they are often tired and jet-lagged. They’re also wary of strangers and especially film crews, so you have to be respectful of their space and grateful for their time.

And a lot of artists don’t drink at all these days –since touring became the bread and butter for a lot of artists, they simply can’t afford to put on a bad show. It’s not unusual to see them hunched round their tablets and phones, updating social media and catching a bit of shuteye before the show.

And you might not see the bigger artists AT ALL, as they stay with their dressing rooms firmly shut and only come out to perform, but there is always some group who are on the up and super excited to be there and to play and party.

The best ‘backstage’ area I ever went to was at Fuij Rock Festival in Japan. You can see the hotel we stayed in overlooking the campsite (perks of the job). It was partially shut since the resort is mostly used for skiing, and at night we ran round all the cordoned off areas –sneaking into ballrooms and huge empty restaurant areas. It was super creepy.

Backstage, the atmosphere was really friendly and upbeat – and just look at that 2007 line up!

Red Hot Chili Peppers , The Strokes , Franz Ferdinand , Jet , The Raconteurs , Sonic Youth , Wolfmother , Snow Patrol , The Hives , Dirty Pretty Things , KT Tunstall , Jason Mraz , The Cooper Temple Clause , Madness , Mogwai , Scissor Sisters , Yeah Yeah Yeahs , Super Furry Animals , Gnarls Barkley , The Zutons , Ore ska band- and many others.

~ Rebecca Denton

2017 Judges Announced for the BBC Young Writers Award

Bestselling author, HOLLY BOURNE and ‘Good Immigrant’ editor NIKESH SHUKLA call for ‘authors of tomorrow’ as they join BBC Radio 1’s ALICE LEVINE on judging panel of BBC YOUNG WRITERS’ AWARD 2017

Open to all young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK, entrants are asked to create stories of up to 1000 words on any topic with the judges eager to see stories that show real imagination and creativity; high quality writing that can capture and hold the reader. The shortlist of the top five stories will be announced Saturday 30 September 2017 (subject to change) with the finalists invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award 2017 ceremony in London on Tuesday 3 October 2017, where the winner will be announced.

The talented winning writer of the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017 will have their story broadcast on BBC Radio 1 and receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to help develop their writing skills. All five shortlisted writers will be given a guided visit to BBC Broadcasting House and have the chance to meet high-profile authors, publishers, agents and broadcasters. The shortlist will also have their stories published on the BBC Radio 1 website and receive a copy of the BBC National Short Story Award 2017 anthology.

The deadline for receipt of entries is 5pm (BST) Friday 21 April 2017. The Terms & Conditions and Entry Form, along with a host of resources to help writers get started with their stories, are available at www.bbc.co.uk/ywa

Holly Bourne, the bestselling author of Am I Normal Yet? and Nikesh Shukla, editor of youth magazine Rife and celebrated anthology The Good Immigrant have been announced as the judges for the 2017 BBC Young Writers’ Award. They will join BBC Radio 1 DJ Alice Levine who returns as chair of the judges for a third year in a quest for ‘extraordinary’ stories that reveal how teenagers are inspired by the world around them.

Speaking about the Award, which was launched in 2015 to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award and to create a launchpad for the next generation of writing talent, Alice Levine says:

I’m delighted to be judging the BBC Young Writers Award for the third year running. It’s such a privilege to know I’m part of something that helps young people take their first steps on the journey to becoming the authors of tomorrow. The Award always produces incredible stories examining everything from the everyday to the extraordinary. How our writers express so much in so few words never ceases to amaze me, and the quality of the entries is so high that finding a winner isn’t so much like panning for gold as diving into a treasure chest. I hope 2016 has provided all our young entrants with the inspiration to write the kind of unforgettable stories we’ve come to expect from the BBC Young Writers’ Award.

Fellow judge, Holly Bourne says:

I was so thrilled to be asked to judge the BBC Young Writers’ Award 2017! When the world seems chaotic and crazy – writing can be such an incredible outlet. I’m passionate about young people feeling empowered to use their voices and tell the stories that are important to them. Whether that’s an escapist delve into a fantastical world of their imagination, or writing to make sense of the issues of today – I can’t wait to see what they come up with. It’s this kind of energy, honesty and originality that makes the BBC Young Writers stand out year after year!

And judge Nikesh Shukla says:

My work as the editor of a youth magazine, Rife, means that I work with some of the best young minds around, and I feel constantly challenged and inspired by what they write. I can’t wait to read these incredible stories whilst judging the BBC Young Writers’ Award, and am particularly interested to see the impact recent political events have had on teenagers.

The BBC Young Writers’ Award was won last year by 14 year old Lizzie Freestone for her ‘haunting, intriguing and lyrical’ story Ode to a Boy Musician. The story, focussing on a boy set free from his fearful and narrow life by his talent as a musician, was praised as a ‘brilliant
piece of storytelling’. The inaugural 2015 Award was won by Brennig Davies for his tale Skinning, the graphic account of a boy having to skin a rabbit on the orders of his overbearing father. Both winners had the honour of hearing their stories read on BBC Radio 1 by high profile actors Daisy Ridley and Sir Ian McKellen respectively.

Liz Allard, Executive Producer of BBC Young Writers’ Award, says:

Now in its third year, the BBC Young Writers’ Award provides the next generation with the opportunity to showcase their formidable talent as short story writers. Last year’s shortlistees delighted us with their diversity in style, theme and imagination with the winner 14-year-old Lizzie Freestone standing out for her haunting and poetic story. We are eagerly looking forward to uncovering new and equally captivating stories; stories that not only showcase the writers of the future but may well signpost a future winner of the prestigious BBC National Short Story Award.

Neal Zetter poetry workshops for Children & Young People

The 2017 SRC theme is Animal Agents so I have put together a special Animal Rap & Rhyme session which I am hoping you’ll be keen to book me for in summer.

Linking to the theme I am offering:

  • an interactive funny animal poems performance
  • fun with words including my animal alliteration game
  • the chance for children to create their own animal tongue twister poems
  • the opportunity for children to meet a real live author, poet, entertainer and buy signed copies of my books if they wish containing many animal poems (I have two new books out in 2017)
  •  
    And

  • it’s for 6-12 yrs olds – but nobody is turned away, parents/carers/siblings welcome
  • Cost = £110 + Oyster
  • I am currently free all summer up to and including 18 August
  •  
    Please let me know if you’d be interested even though it may be early days

    Neal Zetter
    neal@cccpworkshops.co.uk

    cccpworkshops.co.uk
    020 8529 6608

    HiLo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

    I have had a copy of Hilo written and drawn by Judd Winick since December – it is a comic book that I loved and have been meaning to write a review of since I read it. However I have been dragging my feet with this and I have no idea why.

    Last night I had a dream, and in that dream I wrote a Hilo review and compared it to The Iron Man by Ted Hughes – this is better known internationally as The Iron Giant thanks to the fantastic Warner Bros. animated movie. When I woke up I was confused as on the surface they two beings appeared to be completely different; on deeper reflection I realised that the stories had a number of similarities, my brain also threw about Osamu Tezuka’s Astroboy and Frank Miller and Geof Darrow’s The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot into the mix as well as the parallels to Judd’s early work The Adventures of Barry Ween Boy Genius (the book that made me a Winick fan-boy)

    Judd – if you do read this can you *please* let me know if Barry Ween will ever come back – thank you!

    ANYWAY! Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth is funny, sweet and contains some surprisingly hidden depths to the surface story of a mysterious boy who falls to Earth and the children that become his best friends.

    There is a lot of screaming and running away from alien monsters and pathos in the form of familial relationships and the feeling of not fitting in with both Hilo and D.J. filling the role of outsider Hilo on earth and D.J. within his family.

    JW has always been championed diversity in his works and HiLo is no exception, a Caucasian from another dimension with a Hispanic and African American as best friends who get equal development within the story.

    HiLo is a fast-paced, enjoyable romp for all ages and there are two other books in the series that are also available so there will be no long waiting for more once you have finished it!
    If I could sum up HiLo The boy Who Crashed to Earth in one word then it is:
    OUTSTANDING!

    HiLo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth is published in the UK by Puffin