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Anthem for Jackson Dawes is the debut novel for YA/Teens by Celia Bryce.

It tells the story of Megan Bright and her battle with cancer. Megan goes into hospital for her first round of chemotherapy and feels even more alienated than she did when she got her diagnosis, plumped in the middle of a ward full of babies and little children. Her only companion is the insouciant Jackson Dawes, a sixteen year old mischief maker with a cancer so rare they don’t really have a name for it yet.  He roams the highways and byways of the hospital beguiling nurses and patients alike.

Initially Megan is distrustful of Jackson, but as she becomes more secure in her surroundings Jackson becomes her lifeline, and enriches her world in a way she could not have foreseen.

This is tender and powerful story about love and loss.  It is not too sentimental. It is not too mawkish and it does not dwell too much on the illness of the children. Rather it charts Megan’s journey through a life changing time, and through the loss of a great friend.

This book would be suitable for confident readers aged 10 and up, although probably more suitable for slightly older readers. It is told from Megan’s point of view, but it is not particularly ‘girly’. Jackson is a strong male role model who will be perceived as the hero of the piece and as ‘cool’ by readers, so it is a book that would work well for boys and girls.

This is Celia Bryce’s first book. Her publisher have set up a web page for her, which you can access by clicking on the link here.  It is a holding page at the moment,  but may well become richer as Bryce becomes more well known as an author, and she certainly deserves to be.

Celia Bryce also has her own blog. You may be interested in reading it for research purposes. It is not specifically aimed at her readers, so would not, as yet, be of value to pass on to children.

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