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Five Reasons We’re Psyched About Half Bad

25th Nov 2013

Five Reasons We’re Psyched About Half Bad
It’s so exciting to see a paranormal fantasy where romance is a by-line and by no means the central narrative - we discuss why début author Sally Green's upcoming novel is the book to read in 2014.

Sally Green

Half Bad’s author, Sally Green, is unashamedly nice. Any author whose bio reads: “She used to keep chickens, makes decent jam, doesn’t mind ironing, loves to walk in Wales even when it’s raining, and will probably never jog again” deserves adoration.

At the media launch earlier this week, she talked about her determination on discovering her love for writing, taking some Open University Creative Writing classes before she was fully satisfied with her style.

Half Bad is the first in what is projected to be a trilogy and her genuine delight on discovering that people are enjoying the book is refreshing.

Black, White and Shades of Grey

The novel itself follows Nathan, a witch whose mixed magical parentage (his father is deemed ‘evil’ by the ‘good’ witches who run society) cause him to be a social outcast from society.

Perhaps more interesting than this, though, is the fact that Green constantly challenges our perceptions of good and evil; highlighting the fact that there are shades of grey in all of us. (No Fifty Shades puns please).

Any attempt to decide whether we think a character is good or bad – with the odd exception – is undermined by revealing background and depth to them that previously we didn’t know. It makes for startlingly good reading.

Forget Pandering to Kids

One of the best things about Half Bad is the fact that it doesn’t self-censor. There are aspects that are shocking and disturbing – the image of a teenage boy shackled in a cage at the heart of the novel’s opening for one – but never does it seem laboured or gratuitously violent.

As a Young Adult novel, it doesn’t patronise its audience, or feel like it has to mollycoddle them. If we can take Bambi in our pre-teens, we can face up to this, and however uncomfortable we may feel each of the experiences that Nathan goes through helps us to empathise with one of the most startlingly vivid voices of this decade.

My aim isn’t to shock, it’s to question whether any of us would behave differently. I want the reader to get inside the boy’s head, maybe even begin to think like he does.Green argues: “I set out to write the edgiest story I could, and Half Bad opens with a boy in a cage and plenty of spitting. But my aim isn’t to shock, it’s to question whether any of us would behave differently. I want the reader to get inside the boy’s head, maybe even begin to think like he does.”

It’s Putting Paranormal Fantasy Back on the Map

Ever since Twilight was published in 2005 the paranormal fantasy genre has been inundated with paranormal romances.

That’s not to say that there’s anything particularly wrong with paranormal romances – we’re all in favour of the odd nip on the neck – but when an entire genre is reduced to hormonal werewolves and vampires battling over swooning virginal heroines, it can become a little tiresome.

That’s why it’s so exciting to see a paranormal fantasy where romance is a by-line and by no means the central narrative. Nathan has a love interest, but he’s more focussed on staying alive than shacking up.

Set for World Domination

Half Bad is due for publication in March 2014, but already the publishing rights have been bought by 35 different countries, and in addition to that, the film rights have been bought by FOX.

Set to be produced by Karen Rosenfelt (The Twilight Saga, Percy Jackson and The Book Thief) who is notoriously faithful in her book adaptations, Sally Green’s trilogy is set to be a great success.

And all this before the public have seen it!

Half Bad by Sally Green is published by Penguin in March 2014. Pre-order it here.