What Will I Be Reading While Travelling? Carnegie Prize 2016

I love reading and I love stories, and as most people say, nothing can ever quite match the feeling of holding a book in your hands, feeling its weight, hearing the crinkle of a turning page (bonus points if the book has beautiful pictures or something else that enhances the reading experience even more). However, they can be a bit…unwieldy, and never more so than when you’re going on holiday. I suppose they’re a bit hard to store if you have so many books and not enough spare shelves or corners. With this in mind, kindles (and other e-readers, although I’ve only ever owned and used a kindle) are also awesome. I’m taking a kindle with me to Paris this week, and in preparation I bought some new books (because I didn’t have enough or anything…) – sticking to a theme, I bought the Carnegie Prize 2016 shortlist. The entire shortlist. Let’s all say a quiet prayer for my poor bank account, eh?

There are 8 books on the shortlist, and they cover various different themes. I’m aiming to have read them all by the time the winner is announced on the 20th June. Here’s a brief description of all 8 titles – the link to the Carnegie Shortlist 2016 web page is here.


One by Sarah Crossan – this book follows conjoined twins, Grace and Tippi, as they leave the world of home schooling and enter the “real” world of other teenagers. It’s written in verse and it’s actually the book I’m most excited to read from the list. It’s an unusual concept and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens. It’s probably going to be the one that I read first.

lie tree

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge – this one is about a girl, Faith, whose father died tragically in “mysterious circumstances”. The grieving girl finds a tree that only grows and bears fruit when you tell it of a lie you’ve told. If you eat its fruit, it will reveal a truth to you. Faith, desperate to discover what really happened to her father, begins telling lies left right and centre in a bid to get the tree to reveal the truth of his death. It’s described as a “darkly Gothic Victorian mystery” which really excites me. This could be a great book and I’m excited to read it.

there will be lies

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake – a psychological thriller about a deaf girl who gets hit by a car and is subsequently spirited away by her mother. It switches between reality and a dream world to paint a picture of the girl’s life as she tries to figure out what’s going on and the lies her mother has been telling her. This is a unique concept, different to anything I’ve read before, and should make for an interesting read. I’m eager to read this one, and so it might be the second one I read from the list (maybe even the first depending on how I feel on the train).

rest of us

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – a Ness option is always going to be good, and this seems to be no exception. An end-of-the-world novel with a twist, it follows an ordinary boy trying to do ordinary things in an extraordinary world. I haven’t read much apocalyptic fiction so this will be a nice change. It sounds quite light and funny too, just the thing to read to relax in summer.

five children

Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders – this is a “sequel” to the classic Five Children and It, and follows the original children as they’re grown and off on new adventures. As war looms on the horizon, Psammead returns to pull them back into a fantastical adventure. It’s been a long time since I read Five Children, but this sequel from Saunders looks set to recreate the magic of the original classic.

ghosts of heaven

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick – this one is a collection of four short stories (all written in different styles) centring on a spiral that touches on the lives of all the characters. I get a ‘Cloud Atlas’ vibe from the description of this book (although far less complex), which grabs my interest and makes me quite eager to read this book.

lies we tell ourselves

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley – it is 1959 and Sarah, our main character, is one of the first black students to attend Jefferson High. She meets Linda, and their differences are obvious. This book blends issues of race and sexuality in 1950/60s America, a time which I find extremely interesting. This book looks brilliant and it too is extremely high on my “read it now” list. I can’t wait to explore Sarah and Linda’s growing relationship and the trials and perils it faces.

fire colour one

Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine – this realistic fiction takes us on the journey of Iris as she discovers secrets that her estranged, dying father is determined to reveal, and copes with her mother’s…eccentricities. This book seems funny and poignant in equal measure, and will surely be a good read.

Fun Stats:

Amount of books involving lies in the title: 3

Amount of books written by women: 5 (go women!)

Prettiest cover: The Ghosts of Heaven (just look at those spiral stairs) and Lies We Tell Ourselves (the quote makes me squee)

And that’s all of them! Now, I realise that the Carnegie Prize is for children’s books (and I’m 20, shhh), but I firmly believe that a good children’s/YA book should also interest at least some adults. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter to me what the “recommended age” of a book is; if it has an interesting concept then I’m down for it. Besides, aren’t we all children at heart? Reaching adulthood is boring enough without limiting ourselves in fiction! I’ll be posting reviews of all these books on my blog, along with my opinion on which book should win the prize (as well as the actual winner of course). Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Which one do you think I should tackle first?



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