|The Whole Of The Moon - Amazon
Meet Marya - a strong and clever but mostly unnoticed, 17 year old, who lives with her closed-down brother, Evan, 16, and hard-working, newly separated mum, in busy South London. When an outburst by Evan proves he's watching hardcore porn, alarm bells ring. Leaving the cat with the lodger, Mum gathers up her family and takes them on an unusual and apparently innocent summer trip to Spain. An eco-community of all places. Not Marya and Evan's idea of fun because Arcadia's wifi can't be trusted and there's no escape from the heat of the natural world.
What Marya and Evan don't know is they aren't there to experience the challenges of a vegan diet and compost toilets but to learn from Blake and Sharrow; an ex-porn addict and ex-porn victim.
When the layers of illusion fall away, family ties are tested.
What will their new-found freedom and friendships lead to?
Will they succumb to love among the summer heat, sparkling lake and billions of stars?
The Whole Of The Moon shines a light on the loss of control, fear, sadness, anger and shame swimming around the bloodstream of young people as a result of pornography.
This one-of-a-kind family novel will keep you hooked from the first page.
The Whole Of The Moon
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Fitzrovia local, the writer, Anna Perera, has something to say. . .
I've written four books for young children and two Young Adult novels. The first, GUANTANAMO BOY, published by Penguin, was nominated for many awards and translated into a dozen languages. Two years ago, I wrote another YA novel - a coming of age story THE WHOLE OF THE MOON with the logline, "Don't all teenagers watch porn?". And no one would publish it. My agent was baffled. He thought it remarkable as did many others. I'm still baffled.
There are a thousand things I could say but in an effort to keep things short and simple here, I refer to The Guardian article, 15th November 2019: "Childline Reports 16% Increase in Victims of Sexual Exploitation"- caused by the rise of a greater awareness by children and the increase in targeting by online abusers. "Some victims turned to self-harm, alcohol or substance abuse as a way of coping".
The head of Childline at the time of the report, Shaun Friel, said "I wouldn't want to present a picture that it [the internet] is a dangerous world but it just means that children can be contacted in ways they couldn't before." Are you kidding me? The internet is a cess pit when it comes to vulnerable young people, especially those in primary school, who don't have the skills to obstruct the sophistication of dedicated online predators. We've read countless articles about this epidemic over the last decade, haven't we? It goes on... "Childline says teachers must be provided with proper training to ensure the lessons are effective and relevant". Good point, but who will provide funding, and more importantly, when? Ten years hence? There is no mention in the article of the expanding, billion dollar, hardcore porn industry and the huge bucks made from warping kids' sexuality before they've come to understand their own desires, leaving them open, not only to physical and emotional abuse, self harm, drugs and suicide, but also to the damaging belief that the sex they see up there is real, and watching porn is as normal as brushing your teeth. Cool, even. Where are the YA stories? And I'm not talking about revenge porn but the attraction to it by children. Where is the discussion about the vile images they can't make sense of while putting themselves at risk of hijacking by abusers and money men determined to hook the innocent into viewing and copying violent pornographic acts.
I've waited two years to see a convincing story for young people, given up and self published online because I believe a novel which spotlights the loss of control, fear, sadness, anger and shame swimming around the bloodstream of teenagers as a result of pornography, should be available. It's a family story and not a hard, horrific or terrifying read. I hope you'll agree there's much love and beauty in the carefully written tale. The synopsis is online, but to get a flavour of the novel, please take a look at the first page of THE WHOLE OF THE MOON:
Please understand Evan's not weird. He just went into a massive meltdown in the car on the way to school. Mum was singing along to some rock god, smiling in a girly way and it was one of those mornings where everything feels possible and amazing things are just waiting in the ether for me to grab with both hands and when that kick of inspiration to live a big, extraordinary life, hits me between the eyes, I feel so excited it's hard to breathe. The old, brown microwave was on the front seat of the car and I was kind of dancing my way to the edge of an unpredictable adventure in the back. Happy as anything until Evan kicked my leg to stop me bouncing around. I punched him and his iPad sprang out of his hands to my feet. My mouth fell open at the vile video of a girl's bare ass, an implement of some kind and two guys. It felt like someone stepped on my head and kicked me down to earth. Evan grabbed the iPad and the look on his face nearly finished me off but I had to tell and shouted, "MUM, Evan's...". With storming pain in his eyes, Evan mouthed "Sh-ut - up. Sh-ut - up" slowly and calmly and I'm sure he would have choked me to death if Mum hadn't been there but she was. When a skateboarder in school uniform clacked onto the road in front of us, the car braked, Evan leapt out, leaned back in and said, "I wanna rape a girl, kill her, then kill myself.'
The rock god effect vanished even though the music was still playing. Mum froze, expressionless. When Evan had gone up the school steps, she shook her head unable to take in what he said. Rooted to the spot, I hesitated but told her, "He was watching hardcore porn." Needing to immediately separate my having watched low level screwing in movies from Evan's obvious evil addiction. "I don't understand," she said. "You were going to get a thing on the internet to stop us getting that stuff?" The car behind beeped. I clicked open the door, got out and looked back for an answer but Mum just nodded slowly to herself. "Have a good day, sweetie." And drove off.
|The Glass Collector - Puffin
Fifteen-year-old Aaron lives amongst the rubbish piles in the slums of Cairo. His job? To collect broken glass. His life? Wasted. His hope? To find a future he can believe in...
This novel will definitely interest teenage readers who are eager to know more about the wider world, particularly if their curiosity about Egypt has been piqued by recent events.
Cairo pulses from its pages, dirty, smelly but intoxicating; the magic's everywhere. The tale sparkles like the glass Aaron hoards, light and delicate and full of dreams.
This novel comes highly recommended for thoughtful older readers. It might even be life-changing for some. I would expect it on awards shortlists in the future.
Books For Keeps
The Glass Collector
Cast Aside - 'The Glass Collector' by Anna Perera
Joshua Hammer - The New York Times
|Guantanamo Boy - Puffin
Innocent until proven guilty? Not here you're not. Robbed of his childhood, this is one boy's experience of the supposed war on terror.
Khalid, a fifteen-year-old Muslim boy from Rochdale, is abducted from Pakistan while on holiday with his family. He is taken to Guantanamo Bay and held without charge, where his hopes and dreams are crushed under the cruellest of circumstances. An innocent denied his freedom at a time when Western boys are finding theirs, Khalid tries and fails to understand what's happening to him and cannot fail to be a changed young man.
'This powerful and humane book shows that hatred is never an answer, and proves the pointlessness of torture and the danger of thinking of anyone as "other."'
Nicolette Jones - Children's book of the week - Sunday Times
'One of her greatest achievements is to make the frightening monotony of the two years he suffers so full of suspense.'
Kate Kellaway - Observer
'An excellent novel . . . superb.'
Amanda Craig - The Times
'Exteremely powerful, and the descriptions of torture are genuinely harrowing.'
SF Said - The Guardian
'Timely, gritty fiction.'
'Could it happen? It has happened. That's why teenagers should read this book.'
Nial MacMonagle - Irish Times
'The argument is as well balanced as the moral outrage is palpable.'
James Lovegrove - Financial Times
'Rising star: Anna Perera. Her novel highlights the teenagers sent to the camp as it tugs readers into its vivid nightmare journey.'
Boyd Tonkin - The Independent
'Guantanamo Boy's ability to deal with difficult issues surrounding the camp makes it a compelling read for people of all ages and a remarkable achievement.'
'Compulsively readable . . . a powerful novel, sure to generate debate.'
Gillian Bramley-Moore - Courier Mail
'Exploring the war on terror through the eyes of a child, Perera handles this confronting subject matter with great sensitivity.'
Daily Telegraph - Australia
Plus many more - too numerous to mention . . .
|Antarctic Adventures - Oxford University Press
Illustrated by Trevor Parkin
This is the true tale of the first bid to cross Antarctica without help. No dogs. No rescue planes...
Only two men, their overloaded sledges and their desire to be the first!
Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Mike Stroud are used to danger. But this trip tests them to the limit. Will they make it to the South Pole - and survive?
|Lolly Woe - Oxford University Press
Illustrated by Martina Selway
Collect 1,000 lolly sticks in three days. Only really sad kids would go in for a competition like that. But the prize is a fantastic, brand new TV and Albie wants a TV very badly...
His friends all live miles away, his sister is her usual annoying self and his Mum has just sent their TV back. The summer holidays could not look more boring but that is before he meets Tash, the girl with darting black eyes and a laugh like a chicken having a nightmare.
|Skew Whiff - Oxford University Press
Illustrated by Tony Ross
Let me do it! Anjuli thinks she can do anything - except perhaps maths. She can't wait to try out Pete's new tools. But when Pete tries to get ready for his birthday party, their DIY turn into disaster. Can they really persuade their friends to get them out of this mess.
Year 6/Primary 7 titles Term 2
|The Night the Lights Went Out - Tamarind Books/Random House
Illustrated by Carl Pearce
Rana is brushing her teeth when the lights go out, leaving her in a darkness as wide as the ocean.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE DUNDEE PICTURE BOOK AWARD 2008