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There’s an empty notebook lying on the table in the moonlight. It’s been there for an age. I keep on saying that I’ll write a journal. So I’ll start right here, right now. I open the book and write the very first words: My name is Mina and I love the night. Then what shall I write? I can’t just write that this happened then this happened then this happened to boring infinitum. I’ll let my journal grow just like the mind does, just like a tree or a beast does, just like life does. Why should a book tell a tale in a dull straight line?

And so Mina writes and writes in her notebook, and here is her journal, Mina’s life in Mina’s own words: her stories and dreams, experiences and thoughts, her scribblings and nonsense, poems and songs. Her vivid account of her vivid life.

In this stunning book, David Almond revisits Mina before she has met Michael, before she has met Skellig.

Shortlisted for the 2012 Carnegie Medal.


a master novelist
There really is nobody quite like Almond writing in children's or adults' fiction today.
The Times
a writer of subtle, page-turning and daring exactness.
Times Educational Supplement
Almond manages to make a work of art out of the simplest words.
Amanda Craig, The Times
David Almond is a fine writer, one of the very finest we have. He is simply incapable of writing a bad sentence.
Michael Morpurgo
'Another brilliant novel from a master storyteller.'
Unsettling but, as ever, beautifully written.
Daily Mail
'... exceptional, delicate writing ... make a moving and thoughtful story told with exceptional elegance.'
Julia Eccleshare
'exquisite prose which sparkles off the page'
BACKLIST REVIEWS: 'a book of startling quality and tremendous beauty'
The Bookbag
David Almond's novels all have a unique, mystical thread running through them. He weaves a story web, spiderlike, that holds the reader spellbound while he spins new though-threads on universal themes.
One of these days, someone is going to notice that David Almond has been kidnapped by children's publishing and demand him back for adults. But until then, we must rejoice in every new offering of his.
Sunday Telegraph
"superb coming-of-age novel from one of our master story-tellers."
"This is a novel of power and beauty."
The Daily Telegraph
A remarkable and thought-provoking prequel.
A standalone exploration of a child's relationship with language, ideas and living things... the reader is with her all the way.
The creative way Mina uses words to explore her dreams and ideas will inspire anyone who's ever kept a diary.
Alice, 17, Dorset
'A celebration of the richness of the everyday world... to read it is to feel uplifted.'
Sunday Times
A sensational meditation on creativity and the power of words.
The Daily Telegraph
Almond promotes and celebrates freedom for children and their thinking in this lyrical book about growing up.
Guardian (Julia Eccleshare)
Incredibly moving.
Sunday Express
A glorification of imagination. David Almond has created a novel that will excite, astound and inspire adults and children alike.
English Association Journal
A wonderful book. It is joyous. Thank you, David Almond; I cannot remember when a book filled me with such claminosity.
Marcus Sedgewick, Guardian.co.uk
A skillful, affecting and impassioned book.
The Times
A celebration of the richness of the everyday world and to read it is to feel uplifted.
The Sunday Times
A rare and beautiful novel.
The Scotsman
A pitch-perfect prequel to Skellig. A gloriously rich, multi-layered novel.
Ham & High
A poignant, heart-warming novel fuelled by Almond's generosity of spirit and his endorsement of childhood's individuality and quirkiness.
Books for Keeps
Another gem from this award-winning author.
INIS (Ireland)
A sensational meditation on creativity and the power of words. A must for any budding writer.
The Daily Telegraph
Almond's chatty, informal and unique writing is different from anything you have read by him before.
Newcastle Upon Tyne Evening Chronicle
Almond promotes and celebrates freedom for children and their thinking in this lyrical book about growing up.
The Guardian
A joyous celebration of what it means to be young and alive and enquiring.
Times Educational Supplement
A truly remarkable book. A extraordinary masterpiece.
School Librarian
One of the stand-out novels of the year.
The Bookseller
Intensely moving, this is a profoundly uplifting expression of joy, imagination and consciousness. Absolutely brilliant
The Newcastle Journal