I can just hear them thinking, 'Hmmm...is it really a children's book - even one for older readers?' Or possibly just, 'Ewww...'
In this compelling and confronting collection of ten short stories, Margo Lanagan solicits the reader to explore the black juice in all of us. Black juice - not so much a dark side as a non-conformist streak - can place teenagers in unexpected situations that can be difficult for them to manage. These exceptional stories are profound, moving, powerful, intense and often unsettling. Many have a complex and demanding structure which challenges the reader. Lanagan uses beautiful, lyrical language, rich with sensory evocations and descriptions to tell strange and disturbing tales. These stories will linger with the thoughtful reader.
Comparing this entry with those of the other shortlistees, I'm thinking it's pretty unlikely I'll get the Book of the Year gong this year.