Inventing Elliot

Inventing Elliot

By (author) Graham Gardner


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After being bullied mercilessly, Elliot is determined to reinvent himself when he moves house with Mum and Dad and goes to a new school. He is going to be so cool that no one will touch him. He's going to stand out just enough not to get noticed. But he is too successful, and he does get noticed by the Guardians. They are a mysterious group of three who manipulate others and run the school with a reign of terror. They invite Elliot to become one of them. He faces an agonising decision, whether to use this new found power or risk standing up for himself and facing the consequences.

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  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 128 x 192 x 16mm | 199.58g
  • 04 Mar 2010
  • Hachette Children's Group
  • Orion Children's Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
  • London
  • English
  • 1842552082
  • 9781842552087
  • 151,449

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Author Information

Graham Gardner is the second of ten children. He has worked as a bookseller, waiter, civil servant and is now an academic researcher in the Institute of Geography at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, specialising in monitoring and analysing long term trends in the UK countryside. He is also a keen musician, playing rock and classical piano.

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Review quote

"Graham's Gardner's first tight and assured, and marks the arrival of an important new talent. The theme is not new, but the journey the story takes always surprises and sometimes shocks with its intensity." -- Wendy Cooling The Bookseller, 20 December 2002 "Once you start, you will not be able to put this gripping and gritty read down!" The Sunday Times, 2 March 2003 "...a moving and subtle story...beautifully but unflashily [written]" -- Adele Geras The Guardian, 15 March 2003 "...fresh and compelling" -- Lindsey Fraser The Guardian Education, 18 March 2003 "It's no mean feat to invoke reader' sympathy, fear, curiosity and fury simultaneously but Gardner achieves just that in a compulsively readable story with huge appeal" Time Out, 19-26 March 2003 "...a first novel which grips from the start...brings to mind Cormier's The Chocolate War...makes riveting reading" Children's Bookseller, 21 March 2003 "A taut and compelling novel" Financial Times, April 2003 "The vocabulary and writing style are fresh, fluent and well tailored to the target audience...Elliot's thoughts are presented with such vivid candour as to grip the reader from page one" -- Elliot Ross, Age 16 The Herald, 5 April 2003 "...taut with menace from the very first page...powerfully plotted, compactly written" -- Dinah Hall Sunday Telegraph, 20 April 2003 "Gardner has produced an extraordinary novel, one which is powerful and intense...You feel every moment of Elliot's agonies and anguish thanks to the powerful use of language and imagery and the sheer intensity of the plot. I couldn't put this book down...Each twist and turn, each revelation, brings a surprise. It is a real gem." Birmingham Post, 3 May 2003 "...creepy but compelling...Gardner is a talented writer; Inventing Elliot is a troubling, raw book" Times Educational Supplement, 16 May 2003 "Gardner's compelling novel convincingly creates a world in which intimidation is both normalised and internalised...There will surely be much to look forward to from Gardner." -- Rosemary Stones Books for Keeps "This is a highly intelligent book about being bullied, written by someone who clearly understands, and can accurately describe, every nuance of fear." Mail on Sunday, 20 July 2003 "This debut novel aimed at teenagers is overtly moral, intensely written and utterly gripping." The Tablet, 26 July 2003 "This is a stunning debut novel from Graham Gardner, written with an easy, taut, spare style in which there is neither a superfluous word nor a break of steady pace. Solid plotting, with robust insight into the motivations and emotions of his characters, keeps the pages turning...This book is deeply satisfying and absorbing...Not to be missed." Inis: Children's Books Ireland, Autumn 2003 "the best first novel of the year" Achuka "Tightly told, Gardner's debut novel is convincing and engrossing." Booktrusted News (Booktrust), Issue 6

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Review text

Graham Gardner's first novel is a powerful account of the horrors of bullying, and how one young boy takes dramatic steps to cope with an increasingly desperate situation. Inspired by George Orwell's 1984, Inventing Elliot examines the nature of evil, the lust for power and the moral dilemmas faced by many adolescents when under excruciating pressure to conform or suffer the consequences. Brutally beaten up by bullies at his old school, Elliot knows he must find strategies to survive when he moves to Holminster High. First impressions seem hopeful - Holminster is a traditional school, with a long history of academic and sporting achievements, graceful buildings and beautiful grounds. But Elliot is not fooled for a moment - from the first day he adopts a different persona, reinventing himself as someone cool and detached, disinterested and above all inconspicuous. His suspicions are all too soon proved correct: a classmate is cruelly humiliated in the showers; fights are staged where no marks are left on the victim's body; notes naming the next victim mysteriously appear on the school noticeboard. Elliot attempts to keep a low profile, ignoring the horrors around him, maintaining his new, cool image. But others are watching him, others who want to use him for their own ends. The gang behind the wanton abuse and cruelty, The Guardians, have had their eyes on him for some time, and he is invited to become one of them. His plan to re-invent himself has backfired - now Elliot must join The Guardians or risk his own safety by exposing them. Gardner not only deals with the perennial problem of bullying in a new and compelling way, but also tackles many of the other issues that beset adolescents. Elliot has a complex relationship with his parents - embittered towards his father who has been severely depressed since a mugging left him nearly dead, he also resents his mother's constant tiredness and her apparent lack of interest in his life. Withdrawing deeper into himself, he only feels safe when all his worlds are kept separate - his friendship with Ben, one of the boys who is most brutally treated, his growing feelings for Louise, a girl in his class and his life as a trainee Guardian must never collide. But the strain begins to tell, and as his behaviour drives Ben and Louise further away he realizes he must choose whether to stand up to the Guardians or lose both his new friends and his self-respect. Ages 10+ (Kirkus UK)

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