All for Gloria

Two more excellent reviews of my new YA novel, Twenty Questions for Gloria, have been published this week. The first, for the U.S. edition of the book, appeared in the influential American School Library Journal while the second was a 5-star review posted on the UK-based literary blog, Page to Stage. Here they are:

From the American School Library Journal . . .

Gloria Jade Ellis, aka Glo-jay, is a typical British teenager at Litchbury High — she hangs out with her best friend, the pretty and popular Tierney, after school, gets hot chocolate with marshmallows at Caffe Nero, and watches rom-coms. It isn’t until the mysterious new boy at school shows up that Gloria realizes how much she would like things to change.

Gloria new US coverUman Padeem, the new boy with the dress code–flaunting bangles on his wrist, posh accent, and Kerouac-quoting view of life inspires Gloria to break the school and social rules of her previously routine existence in pursuit of meaning and adventure. But Uman has secrets of his own, and Gloria will have to find out how fantasy and reality can coexist in the new life she is trying to create for herself.

The novel’s narrative framework takes the form of a police interview, with Gloria responding to questions with blunt responses and longer first-person chapters written in her voice that delineate her and Uman’s growing relationship.

The witty banter between the pair will appeal to teens who love books with quirky dialogue and zingy one-liners, which also provide a refreshing and authentic counterpoint to the darker themes that run through the story. Young fans of police procedurals will enjoy the suspenseful, rapid-fire pace, cinematic dialogue and believable characters (the adults in Gloria’s life, in particular, have smaller roles but are sympathetic and true-to-life) of Bedford’s latest novel.

VERDICT: For fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park – Evelyn Khoo Schwartz, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC.

From . . .

I had the pleasure of attending Walker Books’ January-June 2016 Showcase last year and, while there were many exciting titles revealed during the event, it was the proof of Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford that made its way to the top of my TBR pile first, and what a fantastic book to start with!

This book was SO good, you guys! First of all, I thought it was a very mature novel for the teen market. Sure we have discussions about racial and gender diversity, with disabilities and mental health issues finally making their way into the wider market of young adult releases as well, but this potential Stockholm Syndrome case covers a whole new area and I’m very pleased to see a young adult author being brave enough to tackle the topic.

GLORIA UK final cover 1Seeing the developments through the eyes of a teenager was a particularly fascinating one, as they tend to experience emotions and traumas far more intense and end-of-the-world than adults, which amplified the already very complicated relationship between Gloria and the boy who leads to her disappearance, Uman.

Martyn Bedford’s writing is incredibly suspenseful and gripping, and once I started reading I HAD to know what would happen next. Even though I kept telling myself I would read only one more question (equating to a chapter), I ended up finishing the whole book in a day – I was that enthralled by the story and the mystery behind Gloria’s disappearance and Uman’s past.

Twenty Questions for Gloria is very cleverly put together, a fresh read aimed at the young adult market, it’s also incredibly insightful for adults to get a better understanding into how feelings and emotions are heightened in a teenager’s mind, which can lead to terrible spur-of-the moment decisions. And even though we’re not really supposed to, I loved Gloria and Uman’s relationship, especially in the beginning. It was mysterious and exciting, and I can completely understand why Gloria fell under Uman’s charm. A scary thought perhaps, but a fascinating one too and one that Bedford plays into brilliantly and provides plenty of food for thought.

[This is an abridged version. To read the review in full please click on this link to the excellent pagetostagereviews site.]

Twenty Questions for Gloria is published on February 4th in the UK (Walker Books) and in April in the U.S. (Wendy Lamb Books).

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