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Kevin Brooks was born in Exeter and studied in Birmingham and London. He has worked in a crematorium, a zoo, a garage and a post office, before - happily - giving it all up to write books. Kevin is the author of many acclaimed award-winning young adult novels, including Martyn Pig, Lucas, Kissing The Rain, The Road of the Dead, Black Rabbit Summer and iBoy. He now lives in North Yorkshire. The Bunker Diary won the CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2014.
Photo credit Nadja Meister
A new novel from a Carnegie Medal winning Kevin Brooks is always an event. As an author he has never been afraid of challenging concepts and this is no exception. Kenzi is a typical fifteen-year-old girl and at first sight her problems are familiar tropes- the unexplained death of her mother, a distant and uncaring father and a beloved brother with a serious life-threatening health condition, unwise friendship choices and severe bullying at school. Then illness strikes her, and her skin becomes completely transparent. But the reader can feel completely respected in Brooks’ hands – the scientific background is filled in with sufficient authority to make the incredible entirely possible so that we can concentrate completely on the main character’s internal feelings. Brooks captures brilliantly the horror and revulsion and what it would mean to be so alienated from your own body. How much of your sense of self is bound up with how you look and appear to the world? This is also a deeply thought provoking look at how the media and big business would react to someone with her condition and into the moral and emotional dilemmas she is faced with. Just how far would Kenzie go to protect those she loves? The characters are beautifully drawn, and you can feel nothing but admiration for Kenzie. As the action builds, we fear that nothing can be saved from the situation. There is no easy happy ending but perhaps some peace. An unforgettable novel that will provoke a lot of discussion.
June 2016 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen, Reading Age 8 In a Nutshell: mysteries – urban jungle - escape With typical intensity, Kevin Brooks presents readers with a slice of the life of a singular young man. Cole and his brother Ruben live in East London, as much a part of the landscape as the sooty railway bridges and flat grey sky. A chance encounter in the Live and Let Live pub with a girl who resembles their dead sister, and a monkey, a sudden act of violence, and the four of them are in a car and heading to Scotland. At times chilling, with a palpable sense of foreboding, the book ends on a note of pure joy. Despite its short extent, there’s a real depth to the story and while Brooks deliberately leaves questions about characters unanswered, readers will understand them completely at the book’s close. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
This is the third adventure for Kevin Brooks’ teen private investigator and it starts with an almighty bang. Terrorists lob a grenade into the offices of Delaney & Co leaving one man dead. Then they kidnap Travis. The action continues at this pace throughout the book as Travis, still on the hunt for the people who killed his parents, finds himself in all sorts of life-or-death situations. Brooks’ style – direct and urgent – is brilliantly suited to this sort of story and he’s skilful enough too to allow time for reflection and nuance. An excellent thriller with an impressive and impressively convincing teen central character. ~ Andrea Reece
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Edgy fiction, with strong contemporary themes, is the hallmark of Kevin Brooks’s writing for teens. In this short novel four generations of the Black family are spending Saturday afternoon in front of the horse racing on TV when the fuggy tedium is shattered: a beautiful girl, with a gun and a bag of stolen cash, bursts in. Fifteen-year-old Finbar tells the story and the focus seems squarely on the action. He may not say much out loud, but he lets the reader know exactly what the other members of his family are like, and it doesn’t take him too long to realise that the girl, despite her looks, is no different. There’s a twist in the tale, and it’s as exciting a piece of misanthropy as you are likely to read. Published by Barrington Stoke, it’s particularly suitable for reluctant and dyslexic teen readers. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 7 Pete Cassidy seems average, ordinary, apart from his eyes which are ‘kind of loose and lazy and chocolate brown’. The narrator of this story isn’t really sure why they are friends, it’s just one of those things. They rub along together until the day Cassidy announces he’s going to trap rats. What happens then changes their friendship and, in a way he can’t really explain, changes the narrator for ever too. Brooks is a Carnegie Medal winner and this is a very fine piece of writing, short, effective, convincing - an acute observation of a small event that has huge consequences for those involved. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range. ........................... Read a special Q&A with Kevin Brooks on his book Dumb Chocolate Eyes.
February 2015 Book of the Month - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 Award-winning Kevin Brooks tells a gripping and thoughtful story about the irresistible appeal of a dangerous friendship. Jack is cruising along in year 10; not part of any group but not likely to be picked on either. And then Dean arrives. Dean is tough and fearless. Jack is wary but also attracted by Dean’s courage and his ability to make things happen. But, when the Jack agrees to go away with Dean on holiday, he soon finds he is out of his depth. Dean courts danger with tragic results and Jack is left considering a brief but influential episode in his life. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ A Piece of Passion from Mairi Kidd, Managing Director, Barrington Stoke All at Barrington Stoke cheered when Kevin Brooks won the Carnegie Medal back in June. Not only is he one of our favourite writers for children and young adults - a truly fantastic prose stylist – but he is also firmly committed to the same principles we are. Namely more young people, reading more. Kevin says: ‘I’ve never quite understood why – and this is something I feel really passionate about – our business as a whole seems to focus so much on a relatively small default audience of young readers (which gets even smaller as the target-age group increases), and we forget about the much larger potential audience that’s undoubtedly out there. It’s almost as if there’s a general acceptance that these kids don’t read, so there’s no point in reaching out to them. But I wonder if a big part of the reason they don’t read – or think they don’t like reading – is that we don’t give them a chance because we don’t reach out to them.’ Hear, hear! We are delighted to add to our list of titles by Kevin with the stunning The Devil's Angel. It's short and although it's not sweet, it packs a power in no way in proportion to its page-count. At its heart is the curious intensity of teen friendships, played out in one particular, lost summer. We think it's brilliant; please do let us know what you think via twitter, Facebook or email. _______________________ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Award-winning novelist Kevin Brooks made his mark with this, his debut novel. A black comedy is something of a rarity in children’s books but here Kevin Brooks shows how it can be done. Martyn hates his father – and he has good reasons to do so – but he never meant to kill him. And maybe he didn’t anyway. But there’s a body to be got rid off and a story to tell. Martyn finds keeping up the stories gets more and more difficult as the lies get crazier. Martyn’s pessimistic view of the world takes a darker turn but there’s a kind of mad humour to it, too. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Winner of the Carnegie Medal 2014. | This is a hard-hitting novel which has divided opinion since winning the 2014 Carnegie Medal. Whilst having great literary merit, in Lovereading's view it is unsuitable for younger teenagers. The Bunker Diary is award-winning, young adult writer Kevin Brooks' pulse-pounding exploration of what happens when your worst nightmare comes true - and how will you survive?
A Lovereading4kids 'Great Read' you may have missed 2011 selection. Probably THE author of YA/teen fiction that has more of a cult following than any other. His novels are controversial but utterly gripping and this one is no exception. It's the story of Billy the Kid in the summer of chaos, punk and love in 1976. It's the story of a band, of life and death and everything in between. Kevin Brooks' latest piece de resistance will rock you to the core.
A thrilling, thought-provoking novel from the critically acclaimed Kevin Brooks. Dawn Bundy is fifteen. She doesn't fit in and she couldn't care less. Dawn has other things on her mind. Her dad disappeared two years ago and it's all God's fault. When Dawn's dad found God, it was the worst time ever. He thought he'd found the answer to everything. But that wasn't the end of it . . . A message from the author: Q. What happens if the person you love most in the world - a person who is genuinely kind and loving and good - what happens if one day that person does something unimaginably terrible to you? What happens to their goodness, to your love, to everything you once believed? Does it all just die? What happens when all you're left with is a messed-up heart, two dachshunds, a broken mother and the sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain playing constantly in your head? How does that make you feel? And what happens if there is no one to blame except God because he doesn't exist? A. The is what happens - the story of Dawn Buddy.
Shortlisted for the Carnegie Award 2009. Pete and his childhood friends meet up one last time, for ‘old time’s sake’. But old times are full of secrets, tensions, bitterness and unhappiness. And everyone sees it a bit differently. And not only because of the drugs. A hard hitting and realistic story about the chaos of adolescence. What the Carnegie judges said: '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.' September 2009 Guest Editor Joanna Nadin on Black Rabbit Summer by KEVIN BROOKS Kevin Brooks paints the bleak colours of rundown small town England with the same clarity and honesty that Jenny Valentine renders the inner-city. Set in the stifling heat of July, fuelled by drink and drugs, Black Rabbit Summer weaves together murder and magic, first love and the last days of youth. It is an astonishing and truly frightening book. And one I wish I had written.