Alice O’Keeffe, Books Editor at The Bookseller, said: “Our shortlists this year took the judges from Georgian London to the Second World War to contemporary New York. There are books from exciting fresh voices at the very start of their career, contrasted with books from with well-established brand authors at the top of their game. These are the books that sum up 2018 but which, we think, will be read for years to come.”
Can you ever break the cycle of bad parenting? This is the theme of Jacqueline Wilson’s rather moving new novel, in which we learn what happened to Tracy Beaker, her best-loved character and the subject of a successful TV series. Wilson, an optimistic type who grew up on a council estate and knows something about social mobility more than 100 books later, concludes with a definitive “yes”... Wilson makes it look so easy as she reintroduces old characters, nods to literary classics and ensures we are gripped throughout. It’s not. That’s why the copycats never get close and why she remains the mother of mid-range fiction.
What I love most about My Mum Tracy Beaker is the way in which Jacqueline Wilson fosters children’s love of reading through her subtle acknowledgement to other popular books. I loved that as a keen reader I now shared something with the main character, Jess... It's a great demonstration of the power of friendship overcoming challenging and ever-changing circumstances.
Wilson, as always, tells a story of absolute clarity, in which we know where our allegiances lie and there are no ambiguities. She makes us care what happens, portrays adults who reassuringly provide what children need, as well as adults who fail children, and reminds us that families can take all forms.
Jacqueline Wilson’s relaxed writing style, together with Nick Sharratt’s entertaining line drawings, ensure this compelling book is accessible to a wide readership. Serious issues such as neglect, bullying and stepfamilies are explored with sensitivity and humour, creating a funny, moving and uplifting tale.