Harriet Allan, our Fiction Publisher, shares the speech she would have given at the launch event for Hello Strange by Pamela Morrow.
This month this fabulous young adult novel hits the virtual shelves, and you can access a copy through numerous channels outlined here.
As soon as bookshops open again, you can of course also purchase physical copies, and I urge you to do so, not just because this is a high-paced, funny, stimulating, thought-provoking and entertaining read, with the added bonus of a lively layout, but also because both the author and the shops need all your support given the challenging timing of this launch. The Women’s Bookshop on Ponsonby Road was all set to host the event, so a big shout out to Carole and her team.
When I was about six, the height of scientific enterprise that encapsulated the excitement of the future was not the moon landing; after all, we queued up for ages to see a small lump of dusty moon rock that was, quite frankly, a huge disappointment. No, for me it was the Super Ball, the brightly coloured bouncy sphere of synthetic rubber called (Wikipedia informs me) Zectron. To a little girl, this seemed the height of scientific innovation: if you could make this tiny object bounce from floor to ceiling, endangering any ornaments in its path, then the future was going to be a wonderfully exciting place. Sad, I know, but toys have come a long way since then.
So, why am I wittering on about Super Balls? For two reasons. First, when Pamela sent her first draft in, it was evident there was something really special in there, but it needed work. So, I dashed her hopes to the ground with demands for changes and, like a Super Ball, she bounced back up again producing something far higher than my expectations. We went through that process several times, and Pamela just kept bouncing higher, a whizzing, psychedelic ball of energy and creativity, with added glitter. This is a sign of a true writer: someone with great ideas and a way with words and, most importantly, the perseverance and bounce of a Super Ball.
Secondly, although my imagination was tickled by a lump of synthetic rubber, Pamela’s imagination leaps as high and as far and as unexpectedly as those balls. Her vision of the future is fun and zany, but actually credible and well researched. From the talking toilet cubicles in school to the mood suit, her future is varied and intriguing, and a place I wanted to spend time in through the pages of her book.
Hello Strange has lots of heart (including a mechanical one and a humanoid one), vibrant characters, a compelling plot and is a moving exploration of grief.
So, for all readers from about 12 upwards, do escape this world into the future, as created by this exciting, irrepressible, Super Ball of a new writer, Pamela Morrow.
Here’s a sneak peek at the beginning.
Harriet Allan, Fiction Publisher
We wanted to know what young Kiwi readers thought about Jesse O's book Locked Down (hint: they loved it!). Read on to see their reviews.
When Jesse O wrote Locked Down (then titled Staying Home) back in 2011, she never imagined that almost a decade later, the events of her novel would prove spookily accurate . . .
Syd, the Muster Pony tells the story of the Wilson sisters' most epic adventure yet, and it's inspired by a real-life road trip Kelly and her sisters took in 2001! (warning: this article might induce a desperate longing to go adventuring around the country, read on at your own risk)
Find out the inspiration behind Beyond Burnout, as well as what you'll learn from reading it!
From contemporary rom-coms, to literary debuts, to the creepiest modern gothic fairytale you could imagine (seriously . . . it is AWESOME!), we've got some stellar YA lined up for you this year. Read on for recommendations for your TBR pile!
In How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, Bill Gates outlines just some of the hurdles between humanity and a net-zero carbon world.
Hairy Maclary and his friends are known and loved all over the world. But how familiar are you with Dame Lynley Dodd's other creations? There are plenty to discover, and just like Hairy Maclary, they all feature Lynely's uniquely exuberant artwork and gorgeously readable rhymes! Here are some suggestions to get you started.
After an exhausting and unusual 2020, we’ve got plenty of reasons to be grateful for a new year, not least because of the stellar line up of children’s books we have coming your way over the next few months!Read on for a sneak peek at some of the best new children’s books we’re bringing to you in 2021.
Sometimes a story is best told alongside a beautiful picture, Here's a small selection of some of our favourite 2020 picture books from local creators.
If you’re planning to head to the shops for a last-minute Christmas here's what destitute gourmet wants you to think about!
If you’re new to the world of audiobooks and aren’t sure where to start or if you’re looking for the perfect book to listen to on your summer road trip adventures, we’ve got some great suggestions for you!
From the influence of family to his political rise and the world events that shaped his presidency, Barack Obama covers enormous ground in his Presidential Memoirs, Volume 1: A Promised Land. Here we break down some of the key themes and turning points.