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Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.

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29
May
2017

"Just as I finished the prayer a train went past. A huge gust of oily air burst into the hermitage making all the flaps flap. I looked out. The train had no windows. It was just a huge block of night on wheels, screaming past the holly bushes. As I watched, a little scrap of darkness seemed to get free of the big darkness and come rolling through the air towards me. "

Millions

Carnegie winner: 2004
Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce

Taking place in an imagined England before the introduction of the Euro as the country’s currency, Millions sees brothers Damian and Anthony unwittingly embroiled in a heist when a bag of sterling cash appears at their feet.  The novel becomes a frenetically funny race against the clock for the boys to use the money before it becomes worthless. 

Running alongside this wickedly witty storyline is the sense of bereavement that the children feel following their mother’s loss.  Each brother finds himself preoccupied.  In eldest brother Anthony’s case this is with property and with Damian it is Saints whose stories, personalities and persecution become a lens through which he sees and understands the world around him.  Damian finds sanctuary in a cardboard box he Christens the hermitage.

Convinced that the money that makes a miraculous appearance is a gift from God,  Damian has very different ideas about the money and its usage to his brother Anthony.  Supported by a rich and comedic cast of characters including a band of Mormons and a mysterious man with a glass eye, there is much merriment and mirth to be found in this off-the-wall story.  Family dynamics are explored with poignancy and avoid any trace of sentimentalism and the boys decisions about the money will keep readers guessing throughout.

A funny and frenzied thriller that deftly probes ethical and theological concerns without ever feeling dense or unwieldy. Perfectly measured timing and deliciously crafted dialogue combine to make this a delight to share aloud.

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