Tag Archives: Jill Hucklesby

If I Could Fly

I really liked Jill Hucklesby’s second novel Last Kiss of the Butterfly, but I have to agree with the press release for Jill’s third – If I Could Fly – that it may well be an opening to something bigger. As you know, I tend to dislike statements of this kind.

If I Could Fly

Don’t know where it is set, but I read it thinking of something Brighton-ish. What’s more relevant is that this place somewhere on the south coast is a dystopia, a place that feels both quite alien and at the same time awfully close to where we might be now. The heroine Calypso isn’t sure what is happening to her, so the reader is left not knowing all that much either.

She has escaped from something, running away from… what exactly? Calypso is scared and so is the reader, who can only guess at what’s going on. Caly knows some of the rules of the totalitarian state she lives in, and she knows she’s against those rules.

She longs to see her mother again. But she knows she can’t. The question is why?

Caly is injured, but not sure of how it happened or by whom. She finds somewhere to hide, and she needs to heal. Can she trust the man she encounters? And is her new friend really a friend? What did happen and why doesn’t she want to remember?

This is a powerful story, featuring a puzzle, set in unknown surroundings, which means you can’t know what is OK and what isn’t. Very thought-provoking. And I didn’t see the end coming.

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Last Kiss of the Butterfly

This book begins with a funeral cortège. At least it will warn you not to get your hopes up. And I would have hoped, without it. As it is, Jill Hucklesby’s Last Kiss of the Butterfly is a packet of Kleenex affair.

I’ve said a lot recently on children and teenagers dying in books. Well, I’ve decided that dying mothers are worse. Don’t ask me why, but that’s how I feel.

13-year-old Jaz spends the summer holidays marooned in a countryside cottage with her Mum, who’s recuperating from a cancer operation. The cottage is her Mum’s childhood home, so comes with memories for both of them. If it wasn’t for the illness, this would be a very idyllic trip down memory lane, with peace and quiet, away from it all.

Jill has written a really good story here; one that should provide useful support to girls in a similar situation. Jaz has good friends, a wonderful Dad, and there is an extremely fanciable young man, who knows about leeches and butterflies and dead swans.

If you can cope with sad books, then this is for you. Personally, I like a happy ending, but I’m trying to be mature about it this time.

And the winner is

Derek Landy.

I love Derek and I love Skulduggery, so the win was no surprise. But it would have been nice if it had gone to one of those authors who were present in Bolton Town Hall on Saturday morning. It was a friendly affair, with lots of children and parents and teachers in the audience.Jill Hucklesby

A lively Liverpudlian poet by the name of Terry Caffrey looked after things, and engaged even the Mayor in musical style poetry. The children talked about their favourite books, and introduced the authors, and generally did a good job. Some of them also won prizes for book cover designs and for a writing competition.Colin Bateman

After the prize ceremony all five authors present signed books, and they all had nice long queues, and I really approve of the piles of books some of the children were clutching. As the unofficial entourage of Nick Green, I have to say how pleased I am that all his Lulu printed copies of Cat’s Paw sold, and that’s not counting the ones I had bought. I’m still counting on those paying for my pension one day.Cat Weatherill

Did I set up that club for authors’ wives that I was talking about months ago? I feel Mrs Gatti will do well there.

What is it with cats?

The cat subject was started inadvertently, I promise. But it now seems to have a life of its own. On Friday afternoon the witch met up with Nick Green in Bolton where he had gone for the Bolton book awards this morning. And as you well know by now, Nick’s book is The Cat Kin.

The other shortlisted books are Colin Bateman, Titanic 2020; Will Gatti, The Geek, the Greek and the Pimpernel; F E Higgins, Black Book of Secrets; Jill Hucklesby, Deeper Than Blue; Derek Landy, Skulduggery Pleasant; Jenny Valentine, Finding Violet Park; and Cat Weatherill, Wild Magic.

Nick GreenSome of the other authors had also made it to Bolton, and we ended up sitting in the sunshine in the beautiful hotel garden over cups of tea. I never like admitting to people that I’ve not read their books, but this time I had to. Luckily they had just spent the day with school children who had read all the shortlisted books, and they had aching arms from all the book signing they’d had to do.

Nice bunch of people, and it’s always interesting to hear what different experiences writers have had. The eagle eyed among you will have spotted that two of the authors are called cat in one form or other. And the hotel cat kept sauntering across the lawn where we were sitting.

It would be good, if somewhat confusing, if they all won the award this morning. Can’t be done, I suppose.