Last month Michael Gerard Bauer won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for his young adult novel, The Things That Will Not Stand. I should clarify for those who aren’t aware that the Prime Minister in question is Australian.
Michael is known to me (and, as a result, any regular readers of this blog) through his wonderful Ishmael trilogy, books about a group of male friends moving through school in Australia. I was fortunate enough to be given them to review by Templar Books and was delighted to meet Michael briefly at the Edinburgh International Book Festival some years ago.
Since then I’ve been following his blog and re-reading the books. I’d read about The Things That Will Not Stand and was intrigued by it. It’s set at a university open day and the entire action takes place over a matter of hours. Like Ishmael, it’s funny and clever and heartbreaking, often at the same time. Michael has a genius for creating believable characters who leap off the page. If his characters were pictures they’d be lightning sketches, so quickly and clearly do they come to life in front of your eyes.
If things were different I’d be raving about this book and encouraging you to read it and buy it for all the teenagers you know. But here’s the thing: it’s not available in the UK. It seems to me that all you publishers out there are missing a trick. Happily for me, Michael generously sent me a copy which I devoured overnight. Someone out there do the rest of the YA reading public a favour and get the UK rights sorted out.
In the meantime read about Ishmael.