Shrewsbury School

The Shrewsbury School Book Award: celebrating the best in YA fiction

Thursday 7 June 2018

Now in its second year, the Shrewsbury School Book Award celebrates the best fiction published for young adults in the last 18 months. 

Library staff announced a longlist of nine titles at the beginning of term. The longlist was carefully chosen to include a range of genres, subjects and writing styles to appeal to the broadest range of reading tastes. Staff and students were then invited to select the six titles that most appealed to them. The resulting shortlist, announced this week, is an exciting selection of great YA books. 

Staff and students will be encouraged to read the six shortlisted books over the coming months and we plan a series of promotional events throughout Michaelmas and Lent Terms to persuade as many people as possible to engage with the book award. Voting will take place in March 2019 and the winner will be announced on World Book Day (7th March) 2019.

Multiple copies of each of the shortlisted books are available in the School Llibrary. Our new Third Form entrants will also be offered one of the shortlisted books as a welcome gift from the Library (an initiative generously funded by the Shrewsbury School Parents’ Association).

Please find further details of the shortlisted titles below:


After the Fire by Will Hill

Inspired by the real-life events at Waco, Texas, this thrilling page-turner follows the story of a young girl born into a religious cult.

The things I've seen are burned into me, like scars that refuse to fade. Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She's starting to see the lies behind Father John's words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire? 


Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

An uplifting, beautifully written survival story based on true events.

Every summer Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stack to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home. Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they've been abandoned – cold, starving and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive?


A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

A wonderfully original adventure story with a great plot and fabulous characters.

When a creature dies, its spirit can go looking for somewhere to hide. Some people have space inside them, perfect for hiding. Makepeace, a courageous girl with a mysterious past, defends herself nightly from the ghosts which try to possess her. Then a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard for a moment. And now there's a ghost inside her. The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, but it may be her only defence in a time of dark suspicion and fear. As the English Civil War erupts, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.


Thornhill by Pam Smy

A deliciously creepy story told partly through pictures and partly through text.

As she unpacks in her new bedroom, Ella is irresistibly drawn to the big old house that she can see out of her window. Surrounded by overgrown gardens, barbed wire fences and 'keep out' signs, it looks derelict. But that night, a light goes on in one of the windows. And the next day she sees a girl in the grounds. Ella is hooked. The house has a story to tell. She is sure of it. Enter Thornhill, Institute for Children, and discover the dark secrets that lie within. But once inside, will you ever leave?


Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

A real tear-jerker – this incredibly moving novel, written in verse, follows a teenage boy in the traumatic months leading up to his brother’s execution.

Joe hasn't seen his brother for ten years, and it's for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row. But now Ed's execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think ... This poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?


Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

A hard-hitting novel about the very real dangers facing Mexican men and women living in poverty. For more mature readers.

Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez - twenty metres outside town lies a fence, and beyond it, America - the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he's been working for. He's dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he's on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they're as good as dead. Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) – she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.

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