Gary graduated from the University of Surrey in the UK with a degree in Engineering, embarking on a career that has taken him all over the world from the Far East to the Americas. He is a graduate of the Faber Academy and Curtis Brown creative writing programmes. Now, a father of three, he has settled close to where he grew up on the edge of the South Downs in Sussex, where he indulges his love of books, and passion for writing.
The Given is his debut novel. It is the first in a series of young adult novels to be published in 2021 in which the main character, Jay, has to come to terms with her unusual gift. An exclusive prequel to the series is available for free download on his website - www.garyclarkauthor.co.uk
“...an engaging adventure tale that will leave readers looking forward to the second and final instalment. A solid fantasy for teens with an appealing cast.”
– Kirkus Reviews
In this YA dystopian series starter, superpowered teenagers dodge government operatives as they try to locate a fabled safe haven.
Eighteen-year-old Jay and her empathetic younger brother, Sammy,have grown up listening to their father tell stories of Interland, a place where people with powers, known as the Given, can be safe from those that hunt them. Jay has known for a long time that that she has a talent for mind reading, but when a special mark appears on her wrist—a rite of passage for those with special abilities—it reveals her remarkably high power level. People who don’t have powers, however, fear the Given for what they can do and what they might become. After herfather is captured by government-employed superpowered types known as Readers, Jay knows that she’ll be next if she doesn’t go on the run. The problem is that Readers have the ability to locate the Given, wherever they go—except Interland. Using an oddly notated map given to her by a local bookshop owner, and clues in their father’s notebook, Jay and Sammy, along with their friends Stitch and Cassie, manage to escape a powerful Reader and go on a quest to find Interland. Clark presents the first of two novels about teens who are simply trying to find a place to be themselves and be safe from harm. Some people may have a hard time acclimating to this fictional world at first, as some of the fantasy elements, including the history of Readers, aren’t explained in great detail, and the narrative point of view switches frequently among the various characters. Still, the story is fairly streamlined, and it will reward those who persevere. The main players—specifically Jay, Sammy, and Stitch—feel genuine and are easy to root for. Some others, though, feel more like plot conveniences, such as Jay and Sammy’s mother and the aforementioned bookshop owner. Overall, this is an engaging adventure tale that will leave readers looking forward to the second and final installment.
A solid fantasy for teens with an appealing cast.
Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2021
Page count: 286pp
Publisher: GCL Books
Review Posted Online: May 21, 2021
Alton, Hampshire, UK
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!