Saturday, 10 December 2011

Book Zone visits Walker Books

This morning I had the pleasure of attending a blogger event organised by the good people at Walker Books. At the beginning of 2011 Walker launched Undercover, a campaign designed to promote their YA fiction, through their online blog. The campaign proved to be very successful, so much so that Undercover is now going to continue into 2012 with a brand new website. The purpose of this morning's event was to give us bloggers a taste of the great Undercover books that are to be released by Walker throughout 2012.

The first part of the presentation involved the nice Walker people raving about the books they have scheduled to be released over the next eight months. As with most YA 'imprints' a good proportion of these books were not typical of the kind of book I tend to read and review on The Book Zone (i.e. a bit girly). However, there were a few that I really wanted to bring to your attention:
Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones (published 5th January 2012)

The details of this book suggest that it is another corker that fits with Walker's commitment to publish gritty thrillers that don't pull any punches. Books that were it not for them having teen protagonists would more likely find themselves aimed primarily at the adult market.

Blink is on the run. He was just trying to steal some breakfast; now he's stumbled on a fake kidnapping and become a player in a bigger game.

Enter Caution. As in "Caution: Toxic". Also on the run, she sees Blink as an easy mark. But there's something about this naive, skinny street punk that tugs at her heart.

Together, they devise a blackmail scam which is at best foolhardy... at worst, disastrous.

Daylight Saving by Edward Hogan (published 2nd February 2012)

We were very fortunate to be introduced to author Edward Hogan at this morning's event. Daylight Saving is his first YA novel and it sounds original and haunting. Edward very  kindly gave us some of the details behind the writing of the book, and graciously answered all of our geeky blogger questions in great detail. I can't wait to read this one!

When Daniel Lever accompanies his dad to the Leisure World Holiday Complex, his expectations are low. But then he sees a mysterious girl by the fake lake and everything changes. Lexi is funny and smart, but why does she have wounds that get worse each time they meet? And is her watch really going backwards?

As the end of British Summer Time approaches, Daniel has to act quickly. Their souls depend on it.

Girl, Stolen by April Henry (published 2nd February 2012)

I had already heard about this book as it was released in the US back in September and I have read a number of favourable reviews on some of the US blogs that I visit occasionally. Walker billed it as an "edge of your seat thriller that will have you tempted to flick to the end". Another book added to my 'must read' list.

Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mother fills her prescription. Before Cheyenne realizes what has happened, the car is being stolen from the car park. Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia - she is also blind. Griffin, the teenage driver, hadn't meant to kidnap her - he was just stealing a car for the gang. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne's father is the president of Nike, everything changes - now there's a reason to keep her. Will Cheyenne be able to survive this harrowing ordeal, and escape? And if so, at what price?

Body Blow by Peter Cocks (published 5th April 2012)

This is the sequel to Long Reach, the first book featuring teen undercover 'agent' Eddie Savage. Long Reach is a book that I bought on my Kindle some time ago, but despite recommendations from blogging friends I had never got around to reading it. The nice people at Walker very kindly let me leave with a copy of Long Reach this morning and I started reading it on the train home, and finished it off this morning. It is brilliant, and I have no doubt at all that the sequel will be just as good.

Eddie Savage is hiding out in the West Midlands after his near-fatal shooting during the Kelly affair. But while the physical wounds are fading, the emotional scars are taking longer to heal. And when Eddie finds himself heading for the south of Spain with an unlikely travelling companion, it is as if, by some magnetic force, he is being drawn back into the criminal underworld. Tommy Kelly may be safely locked up back at home, but on the Costa del Sol the Kelly organization is still alive. And kicking.

After the presentation we were then introduced to Jack, the guy behind many of Walker's YA book cover designs. Jack is the man responsible for the awesome cover of Daylight Saving, as well as the animated version (below) that has appeared on many blogs since it was unveiled to the public in October. As a teacher of Design I found Jack presentation totally fascinating (yes, I sat there quietly geeking out). It was great to see how he came up with his initial ideas based upon the story, and then developed them bit by bit to produce the final design that you can see below. Some of you will know from a previous post I made that some of my sixth form students are currently designing book covers and I'm looking forward to talking to them about Jack's presentation next lesson.

My huge thanks go to the good people from Walker Books who very kindly gave up their Saturday morning to talk to use bloggers - it is always a pleasure to listen to other people talk so passionately about books.



1 comment:

  1. Hi Darren,
    Thanks for posting about the event and for your kind words. Glad you liked the design bit! It was great for me to meet you guys and show you some bits.