Author(s): Siobhan Dowd
After Shell's mother dies, her obsessively religious father descends into alcoholic mourning and Shell is left to care for her younger brother and sister. Her only release from the harshness of everyday life comes from her budding spiritual friendship with a naive young priest, and most importantly, her developing relationship with childhood friend, Declan, charming, eloquent and persuasive. But when Declan suddenly leaves Ireland to seek his fortune in America, Shell finds herself pregnant and the centre of a scandal that rocks the small community in which she lives, with repercussions across the whole country. The lives of those immediately around her will never be the same again.
This is an extraordinary story of one girl's courage in the face of prejudice and hardship within a small community in Ireland.
Siobhan Dowd lived in Oxford with her husband, Geoff, before tragically dying from cancer in August 2007, aged 47. She was both an extraordinary writer and an extraordinary person. Siobhan's first novel, A Swift Pure Cry, won the Branford Boase Award and the Eilis Dillon Award and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and Booktrust Teenage Prize. Her second novel, The London Eye Mystery, won the 2007 NASEN & TES Special Educational Needs Children's Book Award. In March 2008, the book was shortlisted for the prestigious Children's Books Ireland Bisto Awards. Siobhan's third novel, Bog Child, was the first book to be posthumously awarded the Carnegie Medal in 2008. The award-winning novel A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness was based on an idea of Siobhan's. Her novella, The Ransom of Dond, was published in 2013, illustrated throughout by Pam Smy.