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July 2016 Debut of the Month Absolutely compelling. I have to admit to being rather surprised by ‘The Otherlife’, I think I was expecting a rollicking fantasy adventure, instead a startling, yet subtle and thought provoking read awaited. Either told from the viewpoint of Ben as he is about to take his GCSE’s in 2012, or through his classmate Hobie’s journal in 2008, The Otherlife focuses on the importance of friendship and a variety of issues such as the pressure of being a teenager and parent’s expectations. While Ben copes with pain, both physical and mental, Hobie bulldozes his way through the school year, with few morals, and little thought. Julia Gray sets the Otherlife flickering on the edge of the page, on the knife edge of reality... waiting. As I settled in and felt as though I was beginning to understand, the writing ripped my thoughts apart and set me off on a new path. An intruiging, slicing read, The Otherlife, is also warmly tender and compassionate, and I highly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson
I always get away with it when I try stuff like this. Partly it comes down to sort of assuming that I'm going to. I've got loads of confidence. And Loki got away with everything. Well, almost everything.
When troubled, quiet Ben begins at the ruthlessly competitive Cottesmore House, school to the richest, most privileged boys, he is befriended by Hobie: the wealthy class bully, product of monstrous indulgence and intense parental ambition. Hobie is drawn to Ben because he can see the Otherlife: a violent, mythic place where gods and monsters roam. Ben has unnerving visions of Thor and Odin, and of the giant beasts that will destroy them, as well as Loki, god of mischief. Hobie is desperate to be a part of it. Years later, Ben discovers his beloved tutor Jason is dead. And he can't help wondering if Hobie - wild, restless, dangerous Hobie, had something to do with it...
Beguiling, shocking and richly imaginative, the Otherlife is about the darkest impulses within us all.
Teens & YA's love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our older Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.
Gripping, bold and completely original -- Katherine Rundell
A big, mysterious book full of dangerous characters and half glimpsed truths. An absorbing and unusual read. I loved it -- Melvin Burgess
A dark, gripping and unusual debut -- Fiona Noble The Bookseller
|Publication date:||7th July 2016|
|Publisher:||Andersen Press Ltd|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4|
|Topics:||Crime / Mystery, Death / Bereavement, Fantasy / Magical, School Stories|
Julia Gray is a writer and singer-songwriter. She studied Classics at UCL and has a diploma in Children's Literature and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, for which she received the Sophie Warne Fellowship. She has released three albums with the trip-hop/jazz collective Second Person, and more recently two solo albums, I Am Not The Night and Robber Bride.More About Julia Gray