Guardian Children's Fiction Award...the shortlist

Yesterday, the shortlist for the annual (and much coveted!) Guardian Children's Fiction Award was announced. Kate DiCamillo (that wonder who cannot write a bad book!), Piers Torday, E. Lockhart and SF Said had their latest offerings chosen from what was a very competitive longlist to make one of the toughest shortlists I have seen in quite a while.
I think the quote from Judge Katherine Rundell (author of the exceptional Rooftoppers) says best exactly what I was thinking:
“It’s a shortlist to revel in; four very different books that share intelligence and heart as their common denominator.”

So, in no particular order, here's the shortlist and a very, very brief synopsis of each book;
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Young, skeptical Flora rescues a squirrel from an collision with a hoover only to find, the squirrel has developed superpowers.

 Phoenix by SF Said
An incredible journey that takes you from the dreams and imagination of a young boy through the stars to discover the fate of the universe.


We Were Liars by E Lockhart
An eloquent and moving exploration of guilt and grief; very subtle, a must-read.


The Dark Wild by Piers Torday
An amazing adventure (sequel to The Last Wild) that never lets up and makes you think!


Yes, I have read them all and I have to say, tough choice. Each book is very different in style, content and execution; but each book is equally beautiful, elegant and memorable. Good luck to all the shortlisted authors, and to the judges who now have a very difficult decision to make.
The winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Award will be announced on the 13th of November.

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