Books

Most of my books are still in print and available. If you’d like to contact me about any of my books, please leave a comment on my blog page – I’m always happy to hear from readers!

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Sawbones was out in October. It’s a forensic murder mystery set in 1792. Ezra McAdam is apprenticed to a top London anatomist and surgeon and can read a dead body as well as you or I might read a book. But when an unusual body arrives for dissection, events spiral out of control. Ezra meets Loveday Finch, hot tempered magician’s assistant and together they unearth a trail of murder and international secrets…

Sawbones won the 2014 Young Quills Award for best historical fiction for over 12s. It has been shortlisted for the Rotherham Book Award, the Salford Children’s Book Prize and the Hoo Kids Book Award.

It has also been nominated for the 2015 Carnegie Medal.

‘Both thought-provoking and accessible, this is an impressive historical adventure.’ www.booktrust.org.uk

‘An enjoyable tale.’ Books for Keeps

‘Both original and informative . . . the wealth of detail never slows what is a tightly woven plot’ Historical Novel Society

‘Cleverly constructed, rich in atmosphere and truly exciting.’ The School Librarian

‘[Reminiscent of] Jamila Gavin’s Coram Boy‘ The Independent

‘Sawbones’s narration was as clean cut and objective as the scalpel and the mind of he that wields them.’ Big Book Little Book  www.bigbooklittlebook.com/2014/01/sawbones/


brave-new-girlBrave New Girl

“I can make things happen – good things – I know it!” Seren is so full of brilliant ideas – it’s just that she always seems to put her foot in it! First there was the dance routine where she fell off the stage. And now her plan to get her sister Sasha noticed by gorgeous Luke Beckford looks like it could backfire… Seren reckons she’s just hopelessly accident-prone! But there’s one person who believes in Seren. Her mate Keith is making a film for a national competition and he wants Seren to be in it. Could Seren turn out to be a star after all? This is a funny, big-hearted story with a lovable heroine who will make you laugh and cry.

‘What a great read!’ Victoria Park Books

Out in November 2011 Publisher: Frances Lincoln
ISBN 978-1847802545

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PageLines- nightmarecard.jpgThe Nightmare Card

Sara and Mina have been best friends for years. So when Sara gets hold of some Tarot cards and suggests they start telling fake fortunes Mina plays along, helping Sara make sure her predictions are right. But soon Sara’s predictions become all too accurate, and she’s dragged in to a dark world of magic and power that she can’t understand. Can Mina save her?

Out August 2011

Publisher: Barrington Stoke
ISBN 978-1842998281

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PageLines- conmen.jpgCon Men

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PageLines- arctic.jpgArctic Hero

The incredible story of Matthew Henson, the African-American explorer who was written out of history – despite being one of the first to reach the North Pole. A fascinating life, a great adventure and a compelling story of prejudice.

Guardian Education Book of the Week

Time Out Children’s Book of the Week

Publisher: Barrington Stoke ISBN: 9781842994931

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PageLines- nestofvipers.jpgA Nest of Vipers

Cato Hopkins is the youngest member of Mother Hopkins’s ‘family’ – a group of skilled fraudsters and pickpockets. There’s Addy, who can become a very convincing boy when she needs to; the beautiful Bella, who can charm any rich young man out of his fortune; Sam, an escaped slave and Cato himself, a young boy, who Mother Hopkins has taught everything she knows.

But old age is slowing Mother Hopkins down, and she wants to carry out one last con, a con to outdo all the cons that have gone before. And so the gang set about bringing ruin upon Captain Walker, a proud and cruel slave captain, who deserves to be taught a lesson or two . . .

‘This is a characterful, page-turning drama and a vivid mixture of research and imagination.’
Sunday Times – Children’s book of the week.

‘A thoroughly engaging and entirely convincing yarn with a dash of Dickens and more than a hint of historic realism to help drive the thrust of the narrative. This is a brilliant novel and I’ve recommended it to our stock selection team and also to our School Library Service as part of our citizenship collection.’ –Jake Hope, Lancashire Libraries

‘Another captivating debut. This is one to look out for.’ – The Times

‘Twists and turns, mystery and mayhem together with fascinating details about 18th Century London. I found this a hugely exciting read.’ -Mary Hooper

Publisher: Corgi  ISBN: 9780552557627

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PageLines- cutsdeep.jpgCuts Deep

Devon is heading for trouble. He and his mates jack stuff from other kids. It’s no big deal. Then Devon meets Savannah and everything changes. He starts to change… But Devon’s past is about to catch up with him. And nothing will ever be the same again….

Reviews
Chosen by Booktrust as one of ‘The Best New Children’s Books’ for their spring roundup: ‘Catherine Johnson’s tragic tale of bad lad Devon feels real and dangerous enough to hit home.’

ISBN 0237529254 Evans Shades series.

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PageLines- dyinggame.jpgThe Dying Game

When Shehana finds Vlora, stabbed and dying, on her rough London estate, she stops to try to help her. In so doing, she enters a world completely foreign to her own. Vlora had come to England illegally with her brother to work, and ended up a prostitute. Now Shehana must find Vlora’s brother and, with him, try to track down the killer. Shehana can’t tell anyone what’s going on: not her strict parents who want her to work hard at school and marry a man of their choosing; not her best friend, who would never understand; and certainly not her boyfriend. She hasn’t even been able to tell him of her secret dream of going away to university. It seems that Vlora’s brother may be the only one she can talk to. But can she trust him, and what exactly does he know about his sister’s life, and her death?

‘An uncompromising and compelling novel concerned with some of the life and death issues which face twenty-first century teenage girls. Powerful writing which should provoke much teenage discussion.’
Write Away

‘An exciting and fast-faced thriller develops. The dialogue and characterisation
appear authentic. I think this title will be popular in any area with a multi-ethnic community but will be enjoyed elsewhere too.’ – School Librarian
‘Utterly gripping and convincing thriller.’ – Armadillo Magazine

ISBN-13: 978-0192754981  OUP

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PageLines- facevalueuk2.jpgFace Value

The London fashion scene is the height of glamour and beauty … or is it? Ness is the daughter of one of the fashion world’s hottest designers. A ‘normal’ girl, she is happy in the sidelines keeping to herself and her school work. Her cosy lifestyle is shattered when she meets the beautiful, unpredictable and reckless Paula and the two girls become unlikely friends. When Paula becomes sucked into the seedier side of the business Ness must battle to save not just their friendship, but their lives as well.

In a very different time and place, Lauren Bogle, a mixed race girl discovered by a modelling agent on a school trip to London, is desperate to escape from her boring provincial life. Her guardian is dead set against the idea, fearful of what will happen to Lauren when the work starts coming in, the cameras start snapping and the vultures start circling. But Lauren can’t see beneath the glossy photos, the expensive apartments and the charisma of it all. She can’t see she is treading a path already walked by those closest to her, a path that leads to murder, to prison and to death.

‘An intelligent murder mystery’’ – Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week
‘A really pacy dual-narrative thriller with the fashion industry as backdrop to strong characterisation’ – Achuka, childrens books website
‘You won’t be able to stop reading ‘til the mystery is solved.’’ -Mizz
Chosen by The Scotsman as one of the top teenage reads of 2005

ISBN 0-19-275406-8 £5.99 Oxford University Press

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PageLines- stella.jpgStella

Nominated for The Lancashire children’s book of the year award
Nominated for the City of Portsmouth book award
Shortlisted for the Hampshire Book Award’Come with me… Join me on a journey far beyond this world… far beyond what is known…’Stella is the ‘Queen of the Night’, a professional spirit-talker. Standing on stage in her gauzy silver cape, looking out with her big brown eyes, she makes people believe she really can talk to the dead.It’s all pretence, of course. Stella couldn’t do it without her guardian, Nana. Then Nana dies suddenly, leaving Stella to survive on her own. And she finds that it can be a lot harder dealing with the living than with the dead..

‘A pacy page turning read’ – The Bookseller

‘A tremendously convincing novel…absolutely fantastic writing’ – The Scotsman

‘A great story and a wonderful detailed evocation of Victorian Hackney’ – The Irish Post

‘Better than most of the novels on this year’s – Guardian Prize shortlist

ISBN 019-275231-6

£4.99 Oxford University Press

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PageLines- hero.jpgHero

Nominated for the Lancashire Children’s Book of the year award‘Roll up! Roll up! To Meet HERO the toughest girl in London
Hear the crunch of her knuckles as she knocks out grown men! See her father, the famous Dark Destroyer, BOUGHT and SOLD! Cheer as she fights to escape a FATE WORSE THAN DEATH!!
Watch her take on all comers in her fight for JUSTICE!’Hero’s father has been taken away to be sent back to the slave plantation, and Hero has been forced to move in with her mother’s family in the East End of London. They despise Hero for being half black and the daughter of an escaped slave, and treat her as a skivvy and prisoner.But Hero’s father was also a prizefighter, the best in the country, and Hero has inherited his fighting spirit. So when she decides to escape and rescue him, she’s ready to take on anyone who gets in her way…’Hero packs a punch! Powerful and passionate.’
Carousel
‘Exciting and moving’ – Daily Express

‘Almost Dickensian intensity… the plot has a refreshing originality’ – School Librarian

ISBN 019-275197-2 £4.99

Oxford University PressOut of print


PageLines- inblackandwhite.jpgIn Black and White

Life isn’t easy for Stephanie. She lives in a run-down council estate which is being demolished, and her mother, a failed actress, lives in a world of her own. The only thing that keeps Stephanie going is her photography – and her new relationship with Mark. Then the brother of a schoolfriend is seriously injured in a racist attack. Stephanie suspects Mark may be involved. Where do her loyalties lie? Should she tell what she knows?

‘A vivid and rewarding read.’ – Sunday Telegraph’

A book far above the level of so much issue bound fiction’ – The Scotsman

Out of print


PageLines- landlocked.jpgLandlocked

Shortlisted for the Tir N’an Og award
An IBBY White Raven for 2000

Last days of school… that final exam… the awkward visit to say goodbye to some of the teachers. Where will it all lead? Iestyn can’t be sure. Plotting a definite course is not the thing. For him, there’s more life in charging around the forestry in his mate’s car. Until the crash, that is. Until his mate takes up with Martine. Until Iestyn himself has his new job to worry about – and until, more unexpectedly, someone moves in on his feelings with such force that his world is turned upside down.

‘Exceptionally skilled and truthful writing….a story that stays with you’. – Sunday Times

‘Every once in a while I stumble across a teenage novel that restores my faith in the genre…..a superb book.’
– School Librarian

SBN 1-85902-664-8

Out of print


PageLines- other-colours.jpgOther Colours

‘I watch them cuddling and laughing. Whatever this family is, I’m not part of it. I am oustide. I think different, feel different, look a hundred miles different. Out with all of them, all blond or light brown hair, and my yellow-brown skin, wiry hair – I’m something else. Someone else. An embarassment. I feel my cheeks prickle and the catch in my throat, swallow hard and breathe in. Old news. I know all this. It’s why I’m going. Why I have to go.’Louise lives in Wales with her mum, stepdad and new baby brother. But she misses her old life with her mum and dad. She’s just about the only black girl she ever meets in wales, and now that her dad is dead, the whole of the rest of her family is white. Her stepdad doesn’t even seem to try to understand, her brother is always getting in the way, and she and her mum keep falling out. Even her growing talent at drawing and art can’t cheer her up. So Louise decides to run away. In London, Louise meets Maggie, an art teacher, and Maggie’s gorgeous son Dan. And over the space of a few days, Louise learns a lot – about what she wants in life and where she might fit in.

‘Johnson’s heroine has a brave and endearing voice….I loved the visual detail.’ – Adele Geras Times Educational Supplement

‘A satisfying, relevant and thought provoking read.’ – Books for Keeps

ISBN 0-7043-4945-0

Women’s Press £4.99

Out of print


PageLines- ghost.jpgSophie’s Ghost

Sophie’s new home is a modern blue bungalow in a tiny village in Wales. It’s a long way from London and her friends, and a long way from Dad. It might be all right, she thinks, for ‘what I did in the holidays’, but not for living in forever. It gets worse when Sophie starts hearing the breathing at night. Then the ghost appears – dressed in rags and smelling awful but insisting that she is someone special. The last thing Sophie needs right now is to be haunted.

ISBN 1-85902-163-8

Out of print


PageLines- welsh.jpgLast Welsh Summer

Suki and her cousin Nia are packed off to their Nain’s in north Wales for the holidays. For years this was the family ritual. Now for the first time, both girls would rather be somewhere else. Suki, 13, lives in London with her Welsh mother and Guyanese father. Her life in the City feels like it’s just starting. In Wales, she feels she can never belong. Going back to Nain’s is just like opening the wounds.Her older cousin has her own problems: her family, the awfulness of being pony-less and the mercy of pony-owning girls. Then there’s the problem of growing out of ponies and into boys… And all summer she has to put up with her little cousin’s identity crisis, until she too discovers something about herself…

ISBN 1-85902-017-8

Out of print

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