ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Julia's Dad has taken a job for the summer, automating a lighthouse at the tip of Shetland. Her Mum, a marine biologist, has a grant to work on the slow-growing and elusive Greenland shark, a species older than trees. It's not the summer Julia wanted, but at nearly eleven, she doesn't have much say in it. Dad is busy, and Mum shifts between excitement at tracking the shark and despair that no-one believes in her research. As Julia navigates the new school, making a friend and the loneliness no-one else notices, her Mum becomes increasingly more erratic - and Julia feels she is the only one who can help. A moving and poignant book about a child unknowingly but instinctively dealing with her mother's mental illness (with a happier ending than the topic suggests). To complement the rich and lyrical writing are stunningly beautiful and evocative illustrations by Tom de Freston; the whole book is a beautifully bound package, with tipped in pages, gorgeous endpapers and foiling on the cover - all in all, a special book to grace the shelves of any thoughtful reader aged 9-12. Lindy
Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston met in 2009, when Kiran was a student and Tom was artist-in-residence at Cambridge University. They have been a couple and collaborators ever since, but Julia and the Shark is their first novel. Kiran is the award-winning, bestselling author of stories including The Girl of Ink & Stars, The Way Past Winter, and The Deathless Girls, and Tom is making his illustrative debut having worked as an acclaimed artist for many years. They live in Oxford with their rescue cat Luna, in a house between a river and a forest.
Captivating * The Telegraph * A tale of courage, understanding and compassion * The Observer * A triumph * The Daily Mail * Illustrated with dreamlike fluency * The Observer * Beautifully written, sensitive exploration of mental illness, fear and families * The Daily Mail * A truly beautiful book, with text and illustrations in perfect harmony. A book to treasure! * Jacqueline Wilson * Julia and the Shark is deep, beautiful and true. The art shines and the writing soars. A classic from cover to cover. * Eoin Colfer * There are no wasted words in this book. Like a seashell, or a flying bird, it is uncluttered and vital. The illustrations, by Tom de Freston, are mesmerising. I loved it. * Hilary McKay * Tom de Freston's stunning illustrations perfectly complement the poetry of Kiran Millwood Hargrave's story * Cressida Cowell * A rich, immersive and wondrous journey, through deep darkness to hope and light * Sophie Anderson, author of The House with Chicken Legs * What a gorgeous book - calm, funny, heartfelt, wise, full of the quiet and force of the sea * Ross Montgomery, author of The Midnight Guardians * I fell in love with the tale itself, the setting (I do love a lighthouse!), the characters and the little details - it's a beautiful, forceful storm of a book * Emma Carroll, author of Letters from the Lighthouse * INCREDIBLE. Poignant and lyrical and beautiful, it's my favourite of Kiran's books so far and that is saying something. Tom's stunning artwork just brings it to a whole other level * Cat Doyle * Truly extraordinary. Julia and the Shark is contemporary MG at its best but with a hint of the fantastic. It is the kind of book that you will want to have on your shelves and treasure * Katherine Webber Tsang *