YA fiction round-up: Debut novel focuses on friendship and love after the Troubles

Plus new titles from David Almond, Krystal Sutherland, Sara Barnard and Brian Conaghan

Debut author Sue Divin follows in the footsteps of Joan Lingard’s iconic Kevin and Sadie books with her tale of love between a Protestant girl and Catholic boy in Northern Ireland.

Debut author Sue Divin follows in the footsteps of Joan Lingard’s iconic Kevin and Sadie books with her tale of love between a Protestant girl and Catholic boy in Northern Ireland.

Context is everything. When the love interest in David Almond’s Bone Music (Hodder Children’s Books, £12.99) tells the protagonist “You’re special”, it’s not a pick-up line or a red flag. Almond, best known for Skellig, writes tales that are almost like fables, addressing big themes through lyrical prose and flickers of magic.

In this latest, we meet Sylvia Carr, “a girl of the 21st century, a girl troubled by wars, by disgraceful politicians, by global heating, a girl who yearned for hope, for things to change”. Separated from her best friend when her mother relocates to the northern English countryside, Sylvia initially resents the move, then slowly begins to connect with the world around her.

The Irish Times
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