And the Winner of NETBA 2008 is…

…Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine.

Jenny Valentine collecting her award.

Jenny Valentine collecting her award.

Congratulations to Jenny and a big ‘thank you’ to all the authors and publishers and everyone else who helped to make this year’s NETBA the biggest and best one yet.

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Broken Soup

Jenny Valentine

An intriguing, compelling and moving new novel from the award-winning author of Finding Violet Park. When the good-looking boy with the American accent presses the dropped negative into Rowan’s hand, she’s sure it’s all a big mistake. But next moment he’s gone, lost in the crowd of busy shoppers. And she can’t afford to lose her place in the checkout queue — after all, if she doesn’t take the groceries home, nobody else will. Rowan has more responsibilities than most girls her age. These days, she pretty much looks after her little sister single-handedly — which doesn’t leave much time for friends or fun. So when she finds out that Bee from school saw the whole thing, it piques her curiosity. Who was the boy? And why was he so insistent that the negative belonged to Rowan?

Angel

Cliff McNish

It’s been many years since fourteen-year-old Freya’s life was ruled by an obsession with angels – an obsession which destroyed her family. She has an exciting social life at school, and feels her life is sorted. But then the angels return, and Freya discovers that she herself is a guardian angel. What makes matters worse is the arrival of the strange new girl, Stephanie, who craves for herself the angelic power that Freya resists. Learning to harness this difficult new friendship and her otherworldly abilities are complicated tasks, fraught with difficult decisions to make and dangerous situations to negotiate. Every time Freya helps one of her wards, she puts her own life at risk. And then there are her fellow angels – understanding what they want from her is perhaps the hardest task of all.

The Knife That Killed Me

Anthony McGowan

He is coming to kill me. Now would be a good time to run. I cannot run. I am too afraid to run. Paul Varderman could be at any normal school – bullies, girls and annoying teachers are just a part of life. Unfortunately ‘normal’ doesn’t apply when it comes to the school’s most evil bully, Roth, a twisted and threatening thug with an agenda quite unlike anyone else. When Paul ends up delivering a message from Roth to the leader of a gang at a nearby school, it fuels a rivalry with immediate consequences. Paul attempts to distance himself from the feud, but when Roth hands him a knife it both empowers him and scares him at the same time …This thought-provoking and original novel highlights the terrible consequences of peer pressure and violence, and casts a spotlight on the worrying rise in knife crime among teenagers.

The Falconer’s Knot

Mary Hoffman

Silvano and Chiara are two teenagers with a difference. Silvano has been accused of a murder he did not commit. Chiara has been ousted from her family as a young woman with no marriage prospects. For these two very different reasons they are forced to seek refuge in a neighboring convent and friary. And when they meet they are instantly aware that they are both outsiders, ill at ease with monastic life. Then a grisly murder – followed by another, and then another – strikes fear into the close-knit community. Chiara and Silvano cling together within the terrifying spiral of murder as they, and the friends they have made, attempt to solve the deadly mystery.This remarkably rich mystery thriller, with all the pace and action of a ‘whodunnit’, is set in the incredibly atmospheric environs of a friary in 14th-century Italy. Amidst all the action of the murder mystery, the author depicts in fascinating and intricate detail the lives and tasks of the friars and nuns, whether it be crushing pigments to create paints for the fresco artists in nearby Assisi, or the daily and nightly ritual of the religious services. All the historical detail is carefully researched. A huge cast of characters with romantic teen heroes, combined with the thriller-murder element, ensure a pacy, richly enjoyable read.

Slam

Nick Hornby

There was this time when everything seemed to have come together. And so obviously it was time to go and screw it all up”. Sam is sixteen and a skater. Just so there are no terrible misunderstandings: skating = skateboarding. There’s no ice. Life is ticking along nicely for Sam: his mum’s got rid of her rubbish boyfriend, he’s thinking about college and he’s met someone. Alicia. Then a little accident happens. One with big consequences. Sam can’t run (let alone skate) away from this one. Has he got what it takes to sort it all out?

The Black Tattoo

Sam Enthoven

Jack doesn’t know what he’s got himself into. One minute he and his best friend Charlie were up in Chinatown having crispy duck with Charlie’s dad (and Jack was having to listen to Charlie shouting at his dad for leaving his mum) – then next minute they were in a mysterious room above a theatre, with some of the strangest characters they’d ever encountered. And they were about to take The Test…and something very very weird was about to begin. The Test transforms Charlie – leaving him with the distinctive markings of the Black Tattoo – and with a temper that seems out of control. The boys’ meeting with Esme, a young girl with the most impressive martial arts skills this side of Bruce Lee, her huge and hairy father Raymond, and the mysterious Nick seem to have swept Charlie and Jack into a world they had no idea existed. And it’s only going to get stranger…This epic tale of good and evil, demons and hell, vomiting bats and huge battles marks the debut of an incredible new talent for children’s books. Drawing on influences such as comic books, computer games and Eastern martial arts, The Black Tattoo is a book no teenager will want to miss.