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The Survival Game
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About the Author

Nicky Singer is an author and playwright. She has written a number of books for children and adults, across fiction and non-fiction. Her first children's novel Feather Boy won the Blue Peter 'Book of the Year' Award, was adapted for TV (winning a BAFTA for Best Children's Drama) and commissioned by the National Theatre as a musical.

Reviews

gripping near-future story -- Suzi Feay * The Financial Times *
Set in an another bleak, all-too-imaginable near future, Nicky Singer's The Survival Game (Hodder) follows 14-year-old Mhairi as she returns to her birthplace on the Isle of Arran, with an empty gun, her identity papers and a mute five-year-old in tow. In a world of hard borders, coldly allocated resources, truncated lifespans and judicial murder, traumatic loss has already robbed Mhairi of much of her humanity - has she enough left to keep her soul alive? Singer's bitter, demanding book is shot through with piercingly bright, unforgettable images. * The Guardian *
Nicky Singer pulls no punches in this hard, harrowing, skillful story, which shows how thin the facade of civilization is and how easy it is to brutalize not only a person but an entire society. There is hope - at its heart, Mhairi's tale is that of a human being, desensitized by necessity, learning to connect once more. * Armadillo magazine *
Teenage readers will find much to savour in Nicky Singer's Survival Game (Hachette) Set in a not-so-distant future, the heroine's troubles and dangerous journey is strangely relevant. With lyrical prose and a political heartbeat, this is essential reading for fans of dystopian literature * Ham & High Newspaper *
A particularly pertinent read. Singer's provocative book poses big ethical questions and has an endling likely to polarise readers * The Guardian *
'A powerful story. It's searingly beautiful but both terrifying and deeply sad. Nicky Singer writes with lyricism...But The Survival Game isn't just beautifully written...it's raw and energetic, lyrical and beautiful, intense and passionate. It also asks important questions and requires the reader to interrogate her or himself...It's an absolute tour de force.' * The Book Bag *
A wonderful, surprisingly delicate story about a teenager making her way home to Scotland in a world remade by climate change (aimed at YA readers but, like all good children's books, good for adults too) -- Lucy Mangan * i Weekend *
A haunting novel, beautifully written that will stay with you long after the last page * WRD Magazine *
extraordinary novel * The Letterpress Project *
Recent news about the treatment of refugee children makes this a particularly pertinent read. Singer's gripping and provocative book poses big ethical questions, and has an ending likely to polarise readers. -- Fiona Noble * The Observer *
Set in an another bleak, all-too-imaginable near future, Nicky Singer's The Survival Game (Hodder) follows 14-year-old Mhairi as she returns to her birthplace on the Isle of Arran, with an empty gun, her identity papers and a mute five-year-old in tow. In a world of hard borders, coldly allocated resources, truncated lifespans and judicial murder, traumatic loss has already robbed Mhairi of much of her humanity - has she enough left to keep her soul alive? Singer's bitter, demanding book is shot through with piercingly bright, unforgettable images. * The Guardian *

In this gripping near-future story, Nicky Singer tackles two urgent contemporary issues - global warming and mass migration. Desperate people are moving north, and Scotland is the new destination of dreams. Resilient 14-year-old Mhairi Bain is on her way to the Isle of Arran where her grandmother lives. Travelling alone, she has witnessed horrors that include the deaths of both parents. Tough but not heartless, she has taken pity on a mute African boy on the way.The chapters are short and tense, written in a boiled-down style. As a way of dealing with her trauma, Mhairi has created 'Castle', a mental fortress in which to conceal bad memories. It's a neat narrative device. The pair face many obstacles, dangers and border crossings, dramatizing the plight of the migrant in a world, compellingly evoked here, that is both oddly familiar and yet horrifyingly changed.

* The Financial Times *

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