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Children's bookclub: Half Bad by Sally Green - Apply for a free copy.

(40 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 03-Mar-14 15:02:48

We're delighted to announce Sally Green's debut YA novel Half Bad as one of our bookclub choice books for March. Sally was 48 years old when she penned her first novel which has gone on to be sold in 45 countries and film rights have already been snapped up.

Half Bad is the first in a trilogy which tells the story of a young male witch, Nathan, who is captured beaten and kept in a cage up until the age of fourteen because he doesn't fit into a society of black or white witches. Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday in order to fulfil his potential as a witch, or else he will die but he finds himself facing some great challenges, both emotional and political on his quest to discover who he really is.

Apply for a free copy and review or discuss the book on this thread. As a debut author, Sally has shared her Top tips for budding novelists.

emmaMBC Mon 03-Mar-14 17:30:09

I've just finished this novel - and thoroughly enjoyed it.

There's been lots of hype surrounding it, and fortunately it certainly lives up to this.

Gardner's voice is unique and refreshing.

jojack17 Tue 04-Mar-14 17:59:49

I've it awful that I've applied to the children's book club for a book which I want for myself?! I thoroughly enjoy a bit of YA fiction and this sounds right up my street! May pass it on to my son when I'm done of course!

emmaMBC Wed 05-Mar-14 18:19:23

Definitely not awful!! There are some absolutely brilliant YA authors out there at the moment - don't miss out!

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 06-Mar-14 00:54:22

Would those of you who have read it say its more aimed at teens. Is it too old for a year 7 girl?

fruitpastille Thu 06-Mar-14 03:48:08

I saw the author on tv yesterday and she sid 13+

soontobeslendergirl Thu 06-Mar-14 14:32:18

I've applied - I have two boys 13 and a half and 12 and a half who will love this I think.

They have enjoyed the Darren Shan books, Skulduggery pleasant, Noughts and Crosses, Hunger Games, Tunnels series and many many more so this sounds like it will be right up their street.

AliceMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 10-Mar-14 10:38:41

This giveaway is now closed. We will notify those who have been selected to receive a free copy via email. Please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

diabolo Mon 10-Mar-14 14:34:53

I've just finished this, great book, really engaging character in Nathan, am looking forward to the next in the series.

emmaMBC Tue 11-Mar-14 11:07:57

Definitely too young for a 7 year old in my opinion.

The witch themes are complex, there are several quite detailed fighting scenes - it is a fabulous book for teenagers, and cough adults, I loved it!

This is my review ...

soontobeslendergirl Tue 11-Mar-14 11:11:38

Have the emails gone out yet? I haven't heard anything so was thinking of buying the book anyway, but don't want to do that and then be told that we have been lucky to get one free smile

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 11-Mar-14 13:04:45

She's Year 7 aged 12, not 7 years old.

emmaMBC Tue 11-Mar-14 20:15:21

Oh! I was thinking she must be just wonderfully advanced with her reading skills for you to be considering a YA novel ;-)

Borderline I reckon then, it's a judgement call from you re what you know about her. If she's not ready for it yet, I'm sure she soon will be!

Opening scenes are of Nathan, the protagonist, coping with being locked in a cage. There are some scenes of violence, physical fighting - punching etc.

Any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Picturesinthefirelight Tue 11-Mar-14 20:23:34

Yes I thought borderline. The reason I said year 7 is that I think there's a big difference between a 12 year old who has only just started secondary & a Year 8 child.

Dunlurking Wed 12-Mar-14 11:07:10

Hi Pictures, I've just finished this. (I'm hecouldshine from NAPM btw). I don't think my year 8, 13 year old dd would be quite ready for it. Too many greys for that age, rather than black and white clear portrayals of what's evil and what's good, if that makes sense. Nathan is violent in a slightly random way at times, (and steals) so I'm not sure that my dd would cope with this yet.

A good read, sags a little in the middle, I think, and one boring chapter near the end, but otherwise a very promising debut. I gather the film rights have sold and Karen Rosenfelt (Twilight) is the producer.

jojack17 Fri 14-Mar-14 20:35:41

Has anyone received an email or book yet? I haven't, so assuming I haven't been chosen. Disappointed!

Dunlurking Sat 15-Mar-14 08:08:41

Yes I have - a couple of days ago. Just when I'd gone and bought the kindle edition.

I would pass it on, but I'm doing a Writing Young Adult Fiction course atm so plan to reread the book and scribble all over it, analysing it for "Three Act Structure" and "Doorways of No Return" etc.

strawberrypenguin Fri 21-Mar-14 17:20:30

Got my copy yesterday, looking forward to starting it later. Love the cover design

Jenni2legs Fri 21-Mar-14 20:37:32

I applied as my son is working his way through Harry Potter - but it sounds like it's still a little old for him. I will put it in the 'later' pile (after I have a cheeky read)

soontobeslendergirl Fri 21-Mar-14 20:50:03

We didn't get a copy even though I have 2 avid readers in the right age group sad ....and they are boys which must surely give bonus points that I've managed to have 2 boys that age who are both still reading for pleasure. smile

StantonLacy Fri 21-Mar-14 20:53:46

Well, I only received this yesterday as part of the giveaway and have finished it already.

A combination of ill me + ill child + lots of sofa time, but also the fact that I honestly didn't want to put it down.

I was intrigued from page one - gradually being given the details of Nathans circumstances in enough depth to really want to find out exactly WHY he was in that situation. And then the narrative looping back so that we did get the backstory.

I loved her writing style. It reminded me a little of something that Stephen King once said about the process of writing books (tried to find the quote, but gave up!) about how he basically used to re read what he had written and try and get rid of ANY extraneous words, of any padding. It feels like Sally Green has done this and very successfully, too. The writing is pared down - very simple, pure terms and also quite brutal at times (but also peppered with some lovely descriptive passages and imagery).

You get a good sense of the protagonist and gain a huge amount of sympathy for him, without necessarily feeling like you approve of some or all of his actions, in fact quite the opposite. I think that's quite a rare thing, really - so many main 'hero' characters in YA are 'misunderstood but moralistic/self deprecating and noble' blah blah, that it's quite refreshing to read something where the central character is quite amibiguous and you are NOT immediately certain of where the story will end up.

I thought it was great, as you can probably tell grin and I can't wait for the next one to come out (Spring 2015?!)

It's going to be a good one to hold onto for both DCs - I already have a few shelves of Pullman, Wynne-Jones, Susan Cooper etc waiting for them and this one can definitely join the ranks.

Many thanks for my copy :-)

soontobeslendergirl Fri 21-Mar-14 21:08:17

Not trying to be funny here, but I'm wondering what the point of the questionnaire was as no-one that has responded on here so far seems to have children who are ready to read the book. confused

youwish Fri 21-Mar-14 21:29:49

Enjoyed it,the story has a good pace except one chapter in the end that is a bit slow,looking forwardto the next book

shaktar Sat 22-Mar-14 06:46:54

All I can say is 'what Stantonlacey said'! Exactly how I felt about it - sparse but not basic writing style, very fast paced, utterly compelling and I also read it over two days.

Dunlurking Sat 22-Mar-14 10:01:03

I can't remember a questionnaire soontobeslendergirl confused - did we complete one when we applied? I've got a ds who is 16 next month, which will be the perfect age for reading this. He's not getting it yet though as he's got Art GCSE coursework to complete, then a shedload of revision.

We had a discussion about this book on our Writing YA fiction course as Sally Green uses a second person point of view for the first 16 pages, which is really unusual and difficult to make work. I love this section. She does it brilliantly - IMHO the best bit of the book.
There's a clip on youtube where you hear about how the publisher from Penguin took on this book - it's at 2mins 30.

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