Annal: 2004 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

Results of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in the year 2004.

Book:How I Live Now

How I Live Now

Meg Rosoff

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

Book:Last Train from Kummersdorf

Last Train from Kummersdorf

Leslie Wilson

Germany, 1945. The Russian armies are closing in. When Hanno Frisch sees his twin brother killed, he's had enough. On the run, he meets streetwise Effi. She's on her way to the West to find her father, who's in the US Army. Effi's learned the hard way that she must keep secrets to herself - and she's even less keen to trust Hanno when she finds out he's a policeman's son. But there are far more dangerous people on the road: Russian soldiers, German deserters - and Major Otto, who likes to play games with people before he kills them.

This exceptional tale of courage, ingenuity, and the remarkable bonds formed during wartime will keep you gripped right up to the very last page.

Book:Millions

Millions

Frank Cottrell Boyce

It was a one-in-a-million chance. A bag crammed with cash comes tumbling out of the air and lands right at Damian's feet. Suddenly the Cunningham brothers are rich. Very rich. They can buy anything they want. There's just one problem -- they have only seventeen days to spend all the money before it becomes worthless. And the crooks who stole the cash in the first place are closing in - fast.

Book:No Shame, No Fear

No Shame, No Fear

Ann Turnbull

“Don’t cry. We won’t be parted. I promise.”

It is 1662, and England is reeling from the aftereffects of civil war, with its clashes of faith and culture. Susanna, a young Quaker girl, leaves her family to become a servant in town. Seventeen-year-old Will returns home after completing his studies to begin an apprenticeship arranged by his wealthy father. Susanna and Will meet and fall in love, but can their bond survive—no matter what? Theirs is a story that speaks across the centuries, telling of love and the fight to stay true to what is most important, in spite of parents, society, and even the law.

A young Quaker girl and the son of a wealthy merchant face intolerance and persecution in this gripping historical novel that evokes the passion and idealism of young love.

Book:Kissing the Rain

Kissing the Rain

Kevin Brooks

Moo Nelson walks through life alone with his eyes down, avoiding the rain - being pushed and laughed at by others - and wishing things were different. Until the night he sees a car chase - and a murder... Or does he? What is the truth and who wants to know? It seems a lot of people do - the police, the lawyers, the bullies at school, and one very bad guy indeed. Moo must decide between truth and lies and he must do it soon, before someone else gets hurt...

Book:Murkmere

Murkmere

Patricia Elliott

Aggie's life in the village is as normal and dull as any girl's; she has never questioned the rule of the Ministration or the power of the divine beings - the birds. Then, the crippled master of the nearby manor, Murkmere, sends for Aggie to become a lady's companion to his ward, Leah. Aggie accepts and even starts to befriend the wild and strange girl who seems to want nothing but to escape Murkmere and its powermongering steward, Silas. As preparations begin for the ball celebrating Leah's sixteenth birthday, Aggie finds herself further and further enmeshed in the sinister plots that surround Murkmere, Leah, and the mysterious Master.

Book:Private Peaceful

Private Peaceful

Michael Morpurgo

They’ve gone now, and I’m alone at last. I have the whole night ahead of me, and I won’t waste a single moment of it…I want tonight to be long, as long as my life…” For young Private Peaceful, looking back over his childhood while he is on night watch in the battlefields of the First World War, his memories are full of family life deep in the countryside: his mother, Charlie, Big Joe, and Molly—the love of his life. Too young to be enlisted, Thomas has followed his brother to war and now, every moment he spends thinking about his life, means another moment closer to danger.

Book:Useful Idiots

Useful Idiots

Jan Mark

Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond or a carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights. The mixture of a lie doth ever add pleasure - Francis Bacon.

Set in a highly realistic dystopic future, where the lowlands of Britain are flooded, this beautifully-realised novel explores a world where archaeology is banned for fear of social unrest. One bleak morning, a storm across the North Sea unveils a human skull, which is to precipitate a series of events that changes the lives of those involved. And it is the Inglish, a remnant tribe eking out an existence on the edge of Europe, who will be affected the most. This is a compelling vision of England as it might be in the not-so-distant future.

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