Tag Archives: reviews

A Quick Note From the Trenches

Hello, dear people. I am currently occupied with life rather than writing (Oh, as if the two could be separated! you exclaim, but yes it seems they can and indeed sometimes must), but now take a break from life-rather-than-writing to celebrate the US publication of A Single Stone earlier this month and wave across the distance to those new readers who have been stopping by.

People ask me how sales are going and I say, “I have no idea”, because I don’t.

People ask me how reviews are going, and I say, “As they always do,” because how could it be otherwise?

Because it’s a book, a story, a subjective thing, and some people like my writing and some people don’t and there is nothing at all I can do about that. What I can do is try and make the way that I write the very best version of itself it can be, and that’s something I work on every day. (Except for now. Because now is life-rather-than-writing. As I have said too many times already and will not mention again.)

I will return to writing-not-life soon enough and will bring you some A Single Stone-related news on that front. Which may seem odd, because how could a book which is well and truly already written be part of my future writing? Watch this space for an answer to this curliest of questions.

But for now, here is a sprinkling of US reviews which have filled my heart with gladness:

The prose flows gracefully, like rivulets down a mountainside … A beautiful, sparkling gem
Kirkus (starred review)

[A] gripping story, McKinlay (Below) believably evokes the dangers inherent in Jena’s burgeoning autonomous thoughts and actions in a tightly controlled dystopian environment where her grace and power ultimately prevail.
Publisher’s Weekly

McKinlay’s stark yet effective prose and layered world-building, reminiscent of the dystopian societies created by Margaret Atwood, combine in a haunting novel that will stay with readers. Younger readers ready to tackle the heavy subject matter will join older YAs in delving into this unusual, evocative title recommended for both middle and high school collections.
School Library Journal

Utterly enthralling … a great story that will immediately hook a wide variety of readers.
The Loud Library Lady

A Single Stone is incredibly unique. The world McKinlay has crafted is nuanced and thoughtful … The clever intertwining of religion, politics, and ethical dilemmas takes A Single Stone into territory beyond other genre hits.
Sea Reads

Yikes. Just, yikes. This book has some serious grit in it. …It’s painful and gruesome to read, but so fascinating at the same time that I devoured the entire book in one sitting.
Read Till Dawn

I ask you – how can you not love a review that starts with “Yikes” and then goes on to recommend the book?

A Single Stone has also been named as a Junior Library Guild Selection, which I’m told is a very good thing indeed.

US readers/teachers/librarians and folk of all stripes, if you’re looking for more on the book, including links to a bunch of interviews, teaching resources, and other bits and pieces, then do visit this page on my website. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The Getting of Gumnuts

A while back, my editor called to tell me that “Annabel got a gumnut!”. My brain cast around for possibilities – was this perhaps the premise for a new, Enid Blyton-style story? Had Annabel, Again sold into a country with an anti-pistachio bias and had to undergo some editorial changes (which I would happily accept! Call me, anti-pistachio nations!)? Then she explained that no, it had simply been reviewed in the Children’s Book Council journal Reading Time, in which gumnuts are awarded to recommended books.

I haven’t seen the review, though I’m happy to have it, of course, but more than that, I guess I just wanted to say that it is a peculiarly lovely thing to work in an industry where praise is awarded on a sliding scale of gumnuts.

Cleanskin is Travelling!

Thank you to ‘stillcraic’ from Wingello, NSW, who has helped me achieve a quirky little personal goal of mine – to have a book released into the wild on BookCrossing! If you don’t know about BookCrossing, get thee hence and discover its delights forthwith.

What’s more, stillcraic tells us that s/he read my little book ‘with interest’ – what more could a writer ask for? Personally, I always try to approach a book with disdain, aloofness, or a full bag of marshmallows, but each to his own, I guess.

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