New middle grade/ya (12+) highlight by a talented new author, published by Magellan Verlag.
LIZZY CARBON AND THE LOSERS’ CLUB by Mario Fesler
When Lizzie is told to do the dishes at the school festival, it doesn’t come as a surprise. It’s just part of life as the most unpopular girl in her class. But things take a surprising turn: Suddenly she’s stuck with a bunch of misfits and her own project. The whole thing seems doomed to fail: No one believes in them, not even the team members themselves, and obstacles are constantly thrown their way. Lizzie, however, is not one to give up. After all, together they could finally make a change …This unconventional protagonist tells her story with black humour and a surprising twist. Great play with stereotypes!
Mario Fesler spent most of his childhood with clever, quick-witted girls, which inspired him to create his protagonist Lizzy. He lives and works in Berlin. Lizzy Carbon and the Losers’ Club is his debut.
The Year of the Monkey takes a poetic yet light-hearted look at the difficulties of being different and fitting in, mirroring some of the author’s own experiences of growing up in Germany and her family’s flight from Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Que Du Luu’s characters are so life-like they are almost tangible. Living in Germany, sixteen-year-old Mini has lost most of her connection to her Chinese heritage; she is a so-called ‘banana’. As the reader, we are privy to her inner thoughts – although she doesn’t think of herself as Chinese and can’t eat with chopsticks, most people judge her by her appearance. She is embarrassed by the fact that her father speaks broken German, eats noisily and chews with his mouth open. Mini, a typical teenager in many ways, helps out grudgingly in the family’s restaurant. It is only when her father suffers a heart attack that she realises the toll that working late every day of the week has taken on him as he struggles to make ends meet. Her eyes are also opened to the harsh reality for many immigrants: both the restaurant’s cook and busboy are in Germany illegally without work permits and are obliged to live in cramped, unsanitary conditions. Mini’s perspective changes again when her Uncle Wu comes to visit from Australia. Outspoken and with an opinion about everything, Uncle Wu comments that Mini’s Chinese isn’t up to scratch, that her father isn’t strict enough with her and that the reason why the restaurant isn’t booming is because they don’t have any guardian lions at the entrance. Uncle Wu also has constructive criticism to offer based on his experiences of running a business in Australia. The more time Mini spends with her uncle, the more she learns about the family’s escape from Vietnam and the many sacrifices involved. She hears how they tried to dock in Singapore and weren’t allowed off the ship, how they spent a year in a camp in Thailand and how many people were tricked into spending their life savings on the journey. Uncle Wu and other members of their family were some of the fortunate ones who made it all the way to Australia. The story closes on a hopeful note, looking towards the socio-political changes that should ensure a better future. Mini’s story of growing up with a dual sense of identity is thoroughly engrossing and the novel is a real page-turner with universal, international themes that will resonate with an English-language readership. (Source: New Books in German)
A moving and fantastic written story by Que Du Luu. Please get in touch for further details.
Magellan Verlag had some fantastic news at the Leipzig Book Fair:
Two of their YA titles from autumn 2014 – Magellan’s first programme – have been nominated for the German Children’s Literature Award:
ECHT by Christoph Scheuring
Fiction meets reality: While researching his novel, the author lived among street kids at the Cologne main station for several week. His novel is filled with authentic characters and in your face realism. (nominated for the best title by the independent young adult jury)
JENSEITS DER BLAUEN GRENZE by Dorit Linke
A compelling story combining contemporary history with the thrill of a dangerous, daring escape. (nominated or the best YA title)
The German Children’s Literature Award (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis) is a prize for works of fiction and critics in four categories: picture book, children’s book, young adult book, non-fiction and in addition since 2003 an independent young adult jury gives its own award which is very prestigious. The prize announcement and ceremony for all these awards takes place in October at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Please get in touch if you wish to find out more about this amazing titles!
I wish you all a Happy New Year and all the best for 2015! I hope you had a nice break! I used the time to read a lot and there is one title which I couldn’t put away and really enjoyed.
GLÜCKSDRACHENZEIT / Time of the Lucky Dragon by Katrin Zipse (12+)
Not just the cover is a real treat and makes you want to pick it up immediately, the story is exciting, touching and a fantastic read. I finished it in one go and couldn’t put it aside. It’s a mix of a coming-of-age story of a young girl who has to learn to be independent from her brother, and a road trip with a similar feel to it as Wolfgang Herrndorf’s Tschick which has won the German Literature Award 2011 and has been translated into several languages.
Nellie’s older brother one day decides to leave his family and set out to France to start his own life. Nellie who is very close to him, cannot accept this and decides to follow him to Avignon. On her way she meets a lot of interesting people and gradually develops into an independent confident young girl who makes her own decisions and her own way in life.
The extent is 272 pages and it’s easy to translate. The road trip is through Germany, Switzerland and France and Nellie is a strong and easy to identify with character. Please get in touch if this might be interesting for you! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.