Sophie McKenzie's Blood Ties, a teen thriller that explores genetic engineering, has won the Red House children's book award, the only prize voted for entirely by children.
McKenzie, whose debut novel Girl, Missing won the older readers category two years ago, said she was delighted by the award, particularly because it reflected the views of "the people who are actually reading the books, not adults saying what children should read".
"It's a real validation of what I'm doing," she said. "Writing is a very isolating profession, [so] it's really lovely knowing the people for whom the book is written have enjoyed it."
Blood Ties follows the story of Theo, who is searching for the father he had thought was dead when he comes across Rachel, a shy girl, bullied at school, living in the shadow of her dead sister. Attacked by RAGE - the Righteous Army against Genetic Engineering - at a school disco, they are rescued by mysterious strangers. "My books are all thrillers, but with quite a lot of relationship stuff in them," said McKenzie. "There's not an awful lot out there that does that – action-packed, but with relationships."
Read the entire article here.
Two other category winners in the 29th annual award are also announced today: Allan Ahlberg’s beautiful picture book The Pencil (Walker), illustrated by Bruce Ingman, has taken the younger children category, while Kes Gray’s fun story, Daisy and the Trouble with Zoos (Random House) has clinched the younger readers’ category.
Announcing the winners, Sinead Kromer, national co-ordinator for the RHCBA, said: “The Red House Children's Book Award is the only award that truly values the opinion of children and empowers them to make the decisions that collectively decide the winners.
“If you look back over the winners of the past 28 years most of them have become bestsellers and even modern classics.
“The children know what they like and know what they want to read. And it is children who have chosen the winners.