Category Archives: Never Ending

U.S. nomination

never-ending-us-196x294Just received a very nice email from my agent in New York, informing me that the U.S. edition of Never Ending has been nominated in the Best Fiction for Young Adults category by the YA Library Services Association of America. I’m in good company, alongside the likes of David Almond, Melvin Burgess, Sally Green, Lauren Oliver and fellow Walker Books author Leslye Walton, whose wonderful debut, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ada Lavender, I read recently. The BFYA nominations are open to fiction aimed at 12-18 year olds which “meets the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens”. The purpose of the annual list it to provide librarians across America with guidance in which books to stock and recommend to young readers.

Big Bookend gig

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I’m very much looking forward to the launch event for the young-adult programme at the 2014 Big Bookend Festival in Leeds, where I’ll be talking about my work, giving a reading from Never Ending, answering questions from the audience and signing books. It promises to be a lively and fun-filled evening.

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Sharing a stage with me will be Helen Brandom, a debut YA novelist who also writes for stage and television and the YA novelist and scriptwriter June Taylor. There will also be live music from singer-songwriter duo, Lucy and Jo, and a preview of a drama production by the Escape Youth Theatre as part of the Leeds Story Cycle. The evening kick-starts this year’s BBE festival, now in its third year, and which includes three programmes of events – for children, young adults and adults.

The YA launch event is at Waterstones bookshop, in Albion Street, Leeds, from 6.30 to 8.30pm on Friday June 6th. Tickets cost £3. Here’s a link to the BBE 2014 website for full details of the evening and how to buy tickets.

Tree-mendous!

I was very pleased to learn that Never Ending has received a 4-star review on Once Upon A Twilight, a leading American young-adult and children’s book blog. (Technically, a 4-tree review, to fit with the blog’s logo.) I’ve reprinted the review, below. And here’s a link to the site. It’s a terrific blog and was a recent finalist in the Independent Book Blogger Awards on Goodreads.

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Never Ending follows a teenage girl, Siobhan (Shiv for short), going through a tremendous amount of grief after her little brother passes and the role she played in his death. She is sent to stay at an exclusive treatment center that deals specifically with patients that believe they are the sole reason their loved one is dead. The story goes back and forth from present day in the treatment center to the days leading up the death of her brother Declan.

Everything from the cover of this book to the excerpt of the story line had me pulled in. I knew from the beginning this story was going to pull on all my heart strings, but I didn’t expect that I would be so intrigued by both the stories being told. When I first started Never Ending it was a slow start for me and I was kind of nervous I wasn’t going to get into like I wanted to, but then all of a sudden it’s three hours later and I’m almost finished.

With that being said, I loved this book, I loved watching both stories unfold and could never fathom the amount of guilt one must harbor for believing they’re the sole reason their loved one is gone. The treatment center has an extremely odd and new way of “curing” their patients and as the treatment intensifies the story of her life days before Declan’s death intensifies. Both were so captivating and emotional. It was beautifully written and an amazing story of guilt, grief, and strength within. Though this book may have been a slow start for me personally after I got through the first 50 pages there was no putting it down, no ‘after this chapter I’m going to bed’.

I highly recommended this book. Never Ending was beautiful inside and out and was definitely a hook, line, and sinker for me. I cannot wait to read more from Martyn Bedford.

Amazon ranking

I wouldn’t want to give the impression that I check my books’ Amazon rankings on a regular basis (and, of course, it depends how you define ‘regular’).
So, quite by chance, I happened to discover that Never Ending is currently ranked at No.6 in the “children’s books – siblings” chart and No.10 in the “children’s books – death and bereavement” category.

Naturally, I’m disappointed there isn’t a separate chart for “children’s books – family tragedies on Greek holidays that result in psychiatric trauma”.

Here’s the link to the novel’s Amazon page. As you’ll see, the book is a snip at £4.39!

Observer review

Just got back from holiday to find a clipping from last Sunday’s edition of The Observer among my post, with a nice review never-ending-uk-196x300of Never Ending in Geraldine Brennan’s teen fiction round-up:

Never Ending by Martyn Bedford (Walker £7.99) is concerned with a teenage girl’s attempt to escape her lot. Siobhan’s family is close and loving, and their holidays together indulgent and laughter-filled, until the last one in Greece, when Siobhan builds herself a secret life with a local boy, and tragedy follows. An account of her journey through a residential therapeutic regime is balanced with the memories of the family’s final summer together. The pace is perfectly judged so that readers leaf through the holiday album with breath held.

Never Ending tour

A busy week on the Never Ending promotional tour drew to a close today with two very enjoyable sessions with Year 8 students at BBG Academy, in Birkenshaw, just outside Bradford. I’d visited the school three years ago when Flip came out but, back then, it was known as Birkenshaw Middle School. The redeveloped site looked good in the spring sunshine the new library was especially smart.
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I did a talk, reading and Q&A with each half of the year group, meeting around 120 students in all. They were courteous and attentive and asked plenty of interesting questions – when we had to wrap up there were still several hands in the air at both sessions. The morning was rounded off very pleasantly with a bookish chat over coffee with the school’s excellent librarian (sorry, Learning Resource Centre manager!) Karen McKirgan.

Earlier in the week, I visited two schools in one day: spending the morning at Allerton High, on the outskirts of Leeds, then calling in at Prince Henry’s, in Otley, in the afternoon. These were also repeat appearances,Allerton High pic 2 as the Flip tour had swung by both schools back in 2011. It was lovely to catch up with the two librarians who hosted my visits – Anne Walker at Allerton, and Lynne May at Prince Henry’s – and both sessions were a real pleasure. I even got a free lunch (who said there was no such thing?) courtesy of the rather wonderful Debbie Moody, from Leeds school libraries service, who set up the day for me.

The photos accompanying this blog post were taken at Allerton High and I’m grateful to Anne Walker for allowing me to reproduce them.

A deadly idea

The excellent YA book site, Winged Reviews, invited me to post a guest blog about the inspiration for my new teenage novel, Never Ending. Here’s the opening to whet your appetite:

If I hadn’t almost wiped out my family in a car crash I might never have written Never Ending.
About three years ago, we were heading out on a daytrip – me at the wheel, my wife beside me, navigating, and our two daughters in the back, in iPod-land. We’d been stuck behind a van for a while and I was itching to overtake.
So I did. Only I shouldn’t have done. Not on that stretch of road, anyway . . .

To read the rest please click on this link to Winged Reviews and, please, take time to browse the rest of the site while you’re there.

The page 69 test

I’ve been asked to contribute to a variety of book blogs and websites over the years but, without doubt, the most interesting request came this week from a blogger in the U.S. Marshal Zeringue – a writer and producer for stage and screen, and literary blogger extraordinaire – invited me to subject Never Ending to the Page 69 Test on his site, Campaign for the American Reader. Never Ending U.S. 2

The blog, which aims to encourage and inspire more people to read more books, has a regular post where writers put their latest novel to this most unusual of tests. The idea is that, when browsing a book to decide whether or not to buy it, the prospective reader should turn to page 69. If they like what they find there, they should buy the book. The test, also known as the McLuhan Test, was originally devised by the writer Marshall McLuhan and championed more recently by John Sutherland in How to Read a Novel: A User’s Guide. So, I uploaded p69 from the American edition of Never Ending along with a commentary explaining how the events on that page fit into the novel. I just hope the page goes down well with prospective readers! I haven’t applied the test to any other books, as yet, but I might just give it a go next time I’m in a bookshop.

Click here to read my blog post and the text from p69.

“Utterly arresting”

Terrific review of Never Ending in the Life & Style section of today’s Metro. In a round-up of recent YA novels, the influential critic Imogen Russell Williams describes my latest teen novel as “addictive and harrowing from the outset” and “utterly arresting reading”. Here’s her review in full:

never-ending-uk-196x300Fifteen-year-old Shiv is the focus of Never Ending, Martyn Bedford’s second novel [for teens]. She’s a girl trying in vain to process the grief and guilt she feels over her brother Declan’s death. Addictive and harrowing from the outset, Never Ending is an acutely observed, meticulous rendering of a mind in crisis and a family at war with itself.

It’s particularly memorable for its affecting contrast of before and after, alternating flashbacks to the blithe, saturated richness of Shiv’s and Declan’s final family holiday with its grey, grief-bleached aftermath. Shiv’s progress through the unconventional clinic where she relearns how to live in her changed world makes utterly arresting reading.

Real pageturner

Lovely day out in West Yorkshire today, courtesy of the Pageturners Children’s Book Festival. The organisers lined up two schools for me to visit – first stop, Shelley College, near Huddersfield, in the morning, then off to Rishworth School, near Halifax, in the afternoon, where IPageturners-Festival-banner
talked about my work, gave readings from Never Ending and answered questions.

The Q&As were particularly enjoyable, with some really good, interesting questions from both sets of students. This is the inaugural Pageturners, which is run by librarians in Kirklees and Calderdale and forms the children’s ‘wing’ of the Huddersfield Literature Festival.

Click here to visit the Pageturners website for more information and to check out the remaining events for the rest of the week.

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