Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She worked in a whole foods shop in Primrose Hill for fifteen years where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic loaves than there are words in her first novel, Finding Violet Park, which won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2007. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and a jewellery maker. She studied English Literature at Goldsmiths College, which almost put her off reading but not quite.
She has written four titles for teen readers: Finding Violet Park, Broken Soup, The Ant Colony and The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight and four books for younger readers in the gorgeous Iggy and Me series.
Finding Violet Park
This is the story of how a sixteen year old boy called Lucas Swain met an old lady called Violet Park. Only their relationship is not an ordinary one… Violet Park was dead and in a box on a shelf. Lucas finds Violet’s ashes at 5 o’clock in the morning on a dark night, in a minicab office and from then on he embarks on a journey of discovery. About who Violet was, who he is, the point he has reached in his life and what needs to happen next. The Guardian Review
Someone shoves a photo negative into Rowan’s hands. She is distracted but, frankly, she has larger problems to worry about. Her brother is dead. Her father has left. Her mother won’t get out of bed. She has to take care of her younger sister. “And” keep it all together . . . But Rowan is curious about the mysterious boy and the negative. Who is he? Why did he give it to her? The mystery only deepens when the photo is developed and the inconceivable appears. The Guardian Review
The Ant Colony
Number 33 Georgiana Street houses many people and yet seems home to none. To runaway Sam it is a place to disappear. To Bohemia, it’s just another blip between crises, as her mum ricochets off the latest boyfriend. Old Isobel acts like she owns the place, even though it actually belongs to Steve in the basement, who is always looking to squeeze in yet another tenant. Life there is a kind of ordered chaos. Like ants, they scurry about their business, crossing paths, following their own tracks, no questions asked. But it doesn’t take much to upset the balance. The Guardian Review
The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight
A fiery boy named Chap is locked in a room in a hostel, “a stop-off for impossible kids”, when he’s recognised by one of the wardens, who has seen a picture on the internet – a poster of a missing boy. The two are indistinguishable. Should Chap insist on being himself or accept this offer of a new identity? A few phone calls later, Cassiel Roadnight’s sister is on her way to London to pick up her long-lost brother. But Chap quickly discovers the perils of being someone else. Then there’s the worrying question of what might have happened to the real Cassiel Roadnight. The Guardian Review