Category Archives: Never Ending
I’m chuffed to learn that the U.S. edition of Never Ending has been named as one of the Best Teen Books of 2014 by the influential American book-review site, Kirkus. To view the list of titles in full please click here.
I’ve never visited Alaska, unless you count a two-hour wait in the transit lounge at Anchorage airport en route from London to Tokyo many years ago. But it seems one of my books has made it there. The U.S. edition of Never Ending has received a rather nice review in the Juneau Public Library Blog‘s recent round-up of YA fiction.
Fifteen-year-old Shiv and her 12-year-old brother, Declan, spend their holiday in Greece with their parents. Shiv’s romance with 19-year-old Nikos becomes the catalyst for a sequence of events that ends with Declan’s death. Shiv, unable to deal with the trauma and her guilt, eventually ends up in a psychiatric clinic utilizing new techniques to help teens caught in this state of guilt, pain, anger and depression.
The story alternates between Shiv’s time at the clinic and the back story that brought her to the clinic. The weaving is well done creating suspense as well as heartbreak in the reader. The back story shows us to know and love Declan as well as Shiv and to ache for both of them. The characters are complex, the story full of sadness and pain but not without hope. This is a compelling story that takes us into the dark world of loss but with such skill that being there seems a gift to the reader.
I’m pleased to announce that Never Ending has been shortlisted for the 2015 Essex Book Award. The award, one of the bigger regional prizes for teenage fiction in the UK, is a county-wide scheme aimed at encouraging students aged 11 to 14 to “enjoy wider reading for pleasure, foster a passion for fiction and provoke debate among young people”.
Run by the School Library Service, it is open to all secondary schools in Essex, Thurrock and Southend – last year 26 schools took part. Participating schools are encouraged to read the books through reading groups, class work and other events. Students then post their book reviews and comments on a specially dedicated blog. And, of course, the students themselves choose the winning title and vote for their favourite online.
It’s the second time I’ve been in contention for the Essex Book Award, after my debut YA novel, Flip, came runner-up in 2012. This year’s shortlist is a formidable line-up, with some of the leading names in teenage fiction. The overall winner will be announced at a special event in Chelmsford in March and I’m hoping to arrange to visit one of the participating schools before then, as I did two years ago, to run some workshops and give a reading.
Here’s the 2015 shortlist (with the authors in alphabetical order, I hasten to add!):
Never Ending – Martyn Bedford
I Predict a Riot – Catherine Bruton
Bone Jack – Sara Crowe
The Bubble Wrap Boy – Phil Earle
The Middle of Nowhere – Geraldine McCaughrean
She is not Invisible – Marcus Sedgwick
Smashing news to start the week, with Never Ending‘s inclusion on the list of books nominated for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal, the most prestigious prize in children’s and teenage fiction.
I’m also pleased to see five other titles from Walker Books on the list – congratulations to Catherine Johnson (Sawbones), Tanya Landman (Buffalo Soldier), Anthony McGowan (Hello Darkness), Patrick Ness (More Than This) and Non Pratt (Trouble). The nominations will be whittled down to a longlist in February, then a shortlist in March, with the overall winner declared next June.
Click here to visit the Carnegie site for the full list of nominated books.
Another smashing review of Never Ending has appeared this week on a prominent teen/YA books blog in America. I’m grateful to the reviewer, Charlie Kennedy, for such fulsome praise on The Children’s Book Review site. Here’s an extract:
“Martyn Bedford creates a wonderfully complex and suspenseful story dealing with death and grief in Never Ending. The juxtaposition of love and loss, told through two compelling strands – at the clinic, and during Shiv’s family’s fateful last days in Greece – make for an addictive read. With haunting, emotionally-wrought flashbacks and the wit and honesty that can only come from a shared experience, Bedford skilfully manages a character consumed by loss in a way that will have readers sympathizing, and reaching for the tissues. Never Ending is a convincing story of the closeness and friendship of siblings, and the all-too-real trauma and guilt that can come from loss. Those looking for an all-consuming, page-turner of a read, need look no further.”
To read the review in full and to take a look at the rest of an excellent blog site, please click on this link.
Great to see another positive review for Never Ending . . . and in The Literary Review, no less, one of the UK’s leading literary magazines. In his round-up of recent fiction for children and teenagers, the highly respected critic Philip Womack describes my novel as a “slickly moulded thriller”.
He goes on to write:
“Martyn Bedford’s Never Ending [is] a sophisticated account of how a teenage girl deals with the death of her brother while on holiday. Bedford engages successfully with the teen psyche and deals sensitively with his troubling subject matter, while precisely evoking family dynamics and the sweltering confusion of adolescence.”
I’m delighted to announce that a UK audiobook of Never Ending has been released this week, under the Jammer imprint of one of the country’s leading audio, digital and large-print publishers, W.F. Howes.
It’s an unabridged edition with a run-time of 8hrs 56min, narrated by the talented young actor Melody Grove, who has a number of stage, screen and radio roles to her credit.
Click here to view the audiobook’s Amazon page.
I’m grateful to fiction critic Jenny Sawyer for the following wonderful review of Never Ending on Readable, the international culture website, where the book has been named Pick of the Week.
“The loss of a loved one is pretty well-travelled territory in YA fiction. But in spite of the fact that Never Ending starts from the same place as the dozens of other titles about death – when we meet her, Siobhan is reeling after losing her younger brother, Declan – this book feels different. For one thing, it’s the way the story is told: in alternating chapters between past and present, all leading up to the moment of Declan’s death. For another, Shiv is enrolled in a cutting-edge program to help her deal with grief.
I loved the way the author used her therapy not just to wrestle with the philosophical questions of holding on versus letting go, but also to explore family dynamics and questions of identity. Mostly, this book is heart breaking. It’s 300 pages of watching someone come to terms with the fact that they have to let go and keep on living. It’s brilliantly done – maybe a little too brilliantly. Because even though I loved Never Ending, it shattered me. Please read this book—but also know that it’s too painful to ever revisit.”
Two lovely reviews of Never Ending have come my way. The first is from an American YA books website and the second is from a teen-fiction blog run by staff and guest reviewers at one of the bigger branches of Waterstones bookshop in the UK.
Here are a couple of extracts:
Siobhan’s story is told through two timelines. Shiv’s (Siobhan’s) torturous journey through therapy is intertwined with the tale of her family’s sun-kissed vacation in Greece. The first timeline made her tragedy very real to me. The second kept me chained to the book so that I read it all in one day. Never Ending is a fast-paced contemporary novel. Part drama, part mystery. There’s humor and good writing. Definitely recommend this to readers looking for a smart drama.
Good Books for Kids
Recently, I was lucky enough to read Never Ending by Martyn Bedford and I’ve already finished it even though I only started it on Saturday. This book was absolutely amazing and I just loved it.
Shiv was a good main character. She is tormented by guilt and she does a lot of crazy things. I felt a lot of sympathy towards her. All the characters in this novel were very well developed, even the ones we weren’t meant to like. I loved Declan, Caron, Nikos, Mikey and even Dr Pollard. I really loved all of them and the development that each of these go through throughout the whole book was fabulous. I felt very sad about Declan’s death even though I knew it was coming. It was great to see a teenager who had a very close relationship with her brother because in YA you don’t see that much. I definitely recommend this book. I think most teenagers need to know how to live with grief and guilt and this book can help you to understand them. You all need to read this book, seriously.
YA Birmingham, 4.75 stars.
I’m flattered that Never Ending has been included on a prestigious list of ten teenage novels recommended for adults to read too. Kirkus, the influential American reviews magazine – which awarded Never Ending a starred review when it came out in the U.S. – has published the list under the banner:10 Teen Books Adults Shouldn’t Resist. “The secret is out,” Kirkus says. “Books for teens can be great reads for anyone, even readers over 30. We’ve gathered here 10 new titles that span genres for readers of every stripe. Don’t let the kids have all the fun.”
Here’s the list in full:
Panic – Lauren Oliver
The Winner’s Curse – Marie Rutkoski
Never Ending – Martyn Bedford
Guy in Real Life – Steve Brezenoff
Promise of Shadows – Justina Ireland
The Mirk and Midnight Hour – Jane Nickerson
Noggin – John Corey Whaley
She is not Invisible – Marcus Sedgwick
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy – Kate Hattemer
A Creature of Moonlight – Rebecca Hahn