- Publisher: VIKING CHILDREN'S BOOKS
- Format: Hardback | 394 pages
- Dimensions: 145mm x 208mm x 41mm | 522g
- Publication date: 4 March 2014
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 0670016780
- ISBN 13: 9780670016785
- Sales rank: 49,650
Wanted by no one. Hunted by everyone. Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers before it s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is monitored, when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves? "Half Bad" is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive."
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Sally Green lives in north-west England. She has had various jobs and even a profession but in 2010 she discovered a love of writing and now just can t stop. 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. She really ought to drink less coffee. "Half Bad "is her first novel."
By Brenna Staats 02 May 2014
The story in Half Bad is one bursting with emotion and tension. The writing is thoughtful, and Nathan's character stayed with me long after I finished reading this book.
Reasons to Read:
1. A story that simmers (slowly):
The main character, Nathan, is absolutely filled with pent up emotions but the plot progression is fairly slow - don't expect action-packed excitement. Despite the external circumstances endangering Nathan, much of the story revolves around his internal struggles. I found that worked very well for the story in Half Bad, but you have to prepare yourself for a slow-moving plot.
2. Harry Potter (without Hogwarts):
Let me explain what I mean by this: Half Bad is not at all the same story as Harry Potter. However, it felt to me like it could very well be set in a similar type of world - but not Hogwarts. Think of the United Kingdom where there are social divides between witches, and the magic is subtly woven into the real world. More like the later books in Harry Potter where the Ministry of Magic takes a more prominent role in the story. The way the magic works is interesting as well, because it isn't exactly something that can be learned but more like a skill inherited or gifted to the witch.
The story isn't quite told in chronological order though, and I found it jarring at times to jump around in the book's timeline. There were some ways in which it was effective and kept my focus narrowed on certain aspects of the plot. But overall, it felt mostly jumbled to me as a reader.
I was most confused by the second person narration used briefly on occasion. Second person narration is so hard for me to connect with as a reader! And it didn't feel like it added anything to the story. I had no problem relating to Nathan's character or his circumstances otherwise and the second person narrative was just confusing. And the use of this technique was so minimal, it seemed out of place.
That being said, Half Bad is a remarkably emotive book. Sally Green's storytelling is beautiful, and she touches on a wide range of issues and feelings with it. I felt a complete connection to Nathan and I was fully invested in what happened to him. For that reason alone, I would recommend reading Half Bad along with the benefit of a curious magical world. This story is utterly heartbreaking and the events endured by Nathan are horrific and shocking - which is why his story has stuck with me.
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review; no other compensation was received.
By Gina M Rosati 06 Apr 2014
Yes, I bought this because of the hype, but I continued reading because it's utterly brilliant.
First off, as a parent of two teenagers and middle school library volunteer, I see this as a phenomenal book for both girls and boys. The protagonist is a boy (growing to age 17), the situation is dire, and there is a ton of action to keep even the most reluctant reader turning the pages. Mild language, a little romance, but in my opinion, absolutely appropriate for ages 12 and up.
Yes, there's violence because story is conflict. Who wants to read about adorable kittens chasing each other under rainbows ... go to http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/ for that. There is also stuff that can be "interpreted" as whatever you want, but since I'm also an author, I can tell you that sometimes the sweater is red not because it's a metaphor for blood, but for the simple reason that red is our favorite color. On the other hand, this story has moral complexities that could keep an English class busy for weeks.
But what I love the most about Half Bad is the characterization. Nathan is a complex soul who has been told from his early years that he is all kinds of bad by members of a hypocritical society. Oh, wait ... a hypocritical society? Maybe the way you interpret the themes in Half Bad aren't half wrong after all.
A Spring 2014 Kids' Indie Next List pick "Booklist"'s Top 10 SF/Fantasy/Horror for Youth "[A] grim and thrilling tale . . . an unforgettable protagonist"--"Publishers Weekly", starred review "A horrifying, compelling trilogy that pushes the boundaries of what we believe to be good and evil. . . . Nathan's survival is tenuous and marvelous--and only just beginning."--"Booklist", starred review "Highly entertaining and dangerously addictive"--"Time "Magazine ""Half Bad" makes stubborn, sly, near-illiterate Nathan genuinely engaging." --"New York Times" "Green's "Half Bad" is much more than a book about witches. Her page-turner is a ruminative exploration of the nature of evil."--The Boston Globe" "Energetic, gripping." --"School Library Journal" "Nathan's harrowing quest to build a father-son relationship will compel readers to the sequel."--"Kirkus Reviews" "Rewards readers with a compelling story with plenty yet to resolve and a main character worth following in future installments." --"The Horn Book"