But in the meantime I was thrilled to see that the winner of the children’s category is Blood Red Road by Moira Young.
I read the book last year and was so stunned by it that I immediately chose it as one of my top reads for teenagers in a Christmas round-up I wrote for a newspaper. As I said at the time: “The writing in Blood Red Road is so assured that it’s astonishing to find that this is Moira Young’s first novel.”
The Costa children’s book judges were similarly impressed, remarking that “she kept us reading and left us hungry for more. A really special book.”
So if you’re looking for a gripping read for a teenager (or yourself in fact), this is an amazing story, with hints of Cormac McCarthy. Set in a strange future world, it’s the powerful tale of Saba, a headstrong 18-year-old girl who sets out across the barren landscape beyond her remote desert home to find her kidnapped twin brother.
The first of a trilogy, the epic adventure is told in Saba’s own (and very unique) voice and will appeal to girls and boys alike. Saba, who’s accompanied on her quest by a clever crow called Nero, is a tough cookie, but as she encounters violence, cruelty and death, she refuses to give up hope.
Young, a former actress and singer who was born in Canada and now lives in Bath, used to be PA to the editor of the Bath Chronicle. She’s now a full-time writer and is working on her second book (I can’t wait for the next instalment!) Not only that, the film rights for Blood Red Road have already been snapped up by Ridley Scott’s production company. I’m not surprised – it really would make a great movie.
Blood Red Road by Moira Young (Marion Lloyd Books, £7.99)