It’s very exciting to be starting the new year with a new book again! Last year it was The Year of The Rat paperback, this year it’s my brand new novel How Not To Disappear.

Second books have a reputation for being tricky – like the notorious ‘Difficult Second Album’ bands talk about. You have deadlines to meet, expectations, different pressures and all of this can push creativity into the background. It’s hard to give yourself the time and space you need to find your story and allow it to take you where it wants to go.

How Not To Disappear tells the story of an unlikely road trip undertaken by a pregnant teenager, Hattie, and her great aunt Gloria who is in the early stages of dementia. There were times when I thought the three of us might never reach the end of the journey… but we did! Copies of the finished book arrived at the Simon and Schuster offices this week and are looking truly beautiful – a great way to start 2016.


How Not To Disappear will be published on 28th January in the UK and US. If you’d like to find out a bit more about how I came to write it and the wonderful women in my family who inspired the book you can read a post I wrote for Hashtag Reads here:


I’m desperately busy at the moment trying to finish the edits for my next book, How Not To Disappear, which will be out in January 2016. I’m nearly there (I think) but as usual it’s taking way longer than I hoped! So it’s good to have something to look forward to, and I’m counting down the days to YALC, a chance to celebrate YA with lots of other authors, bloggers, and readers.

It takes place on the 17th to 19th July at London Film and Comic Con and there’s an incredible line-up this year including my childhood hero Judy Blume. Judy’s books were a huge part of growing up for me. They were probably the first books I ever read that understood some of how it felt to be me which is one of the brilliant and important things that YA books can do. Adolescence can be lonely, and it can be a time when you feel that no one feels the way you do. Books can show you that you’re not alone, and that’s a powerful thing.

I’m really looking forward to my panel event with Carnegie winner Kevin Brooks, Jenny Valentine, Moira Fowley-Doyle and Sarah Pinborough on Sunday 19th. We’ll be talking about Troubled Teens: dark subjects. How dark is too dark? Are there subjects that shouldn’t be covered in writing for teenagers? Is it patronising to teens to think they can’t handle tough subjects? Or do dark books feed teenage fears? Is it all about how the subject is handled by the author or are some topics off limits? Is a hopeful ending vital in a YA book? Does a hopeful ending mean a happy ending? I can’t wait to get stuck into all this! I’ll blog about it after the event but for a sneak preview of some of my opinions on this subject, you can read a post I wrote for The Big Book Project recently.

The full line up for YALC is now up on the Book Trust website – hope to see you there!