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The Ant Colony [Paperback]

Jenny Valentine
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
Price: 5.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 Jun 2009

A stunning new look for the irresistible novel from Guardian-award-winning novelist, Jenny Valentine.

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. Dig deep enough and you'll find that everyone has something to hide…


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    Check out an extract from The Ant Colony [PDF viewer required].



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The Ant Colony + The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight + Finding Violet Park
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; (Reissue) edition (9 Jun 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007283598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007283590
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 206,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She has just moved house again, probably not for the last time. She worked in a wholefood 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.

Product Description

Review

“…Valentine writes so beautifully and so convincingly that you’re instantly swept into the mystery of these people’s lives…” – The Times

“This is a fine piece of slice-of-life fiction, warm but not cosy, neatly structured and credible.” – Financial Times

“…a deeply humane story that is both witty and entertaining.” – Daily Telegraph

"A captivating novel from a compelling new voice in teen fiction…hilarious and dramatic in turns." Liverpool Echo

"I loved every page of this extraordinary book; a completely unique and involving story…a great book which deserves to be read over and over again." Redhouse Review, Hannah Pitts age 15

About the Author

Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She has just moved house again, probably not for the last time. She worked in a wholefood 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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, great characters, great book 6 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Centering around two young people, Sam who has run away from home and Bohemia who is having to drag herself up despite her dysfunctional mother, this is a great book for young people. The story is well told, the characters are believable and sympathetic, the plot is good and the ending is satisfying. Something I would definitely recommend for adolescents who are coming to terms with their own development and the consequences of their behaviour. Would make a good basis for discussion with a group of young people.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent YA read 26 April 2009
By Rubbah
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jenny Valentine for me is fast becoming the new (better?) Jacqueline Wilson. She deals with difficult issues for children in the same simple and poignant but never patronising way. I really enjoyed reading the Ant colony, and Sam and Bohemia are both likeable, realistic characters with real emotions and motives. Recommended for anyone over 10.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming but gritty story 13 May 2009
By Fiona Millar VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Jenny Valentine's books show a real interest in dealing with people on the fringes of society, and The Ant Colony is no exception, portraying a group of people sharing a building and becoming involved in each others' lives. Although one of the two main protagonists is ten years old, the content and language of the book may not be suitable for such a young age range.

The first person narration, switching between Bohemia and Sam, is involving and well written, and the story is well paced, keeping the reader's interest and emotions hooked. Jenny Valentine is a very talented writer, in the vein of Jacqueline Wilson perhaps, but far better written and with a lot more heart. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mature Read for Teenagers 18 Aug 2009
By Crafty Marie TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Finally, a book that is a mature read for teenagers - something that the more experienced reader can sink their teeth into. There are far too many teenage books which are shallow in terms of plot and also characters. So this makes a refreshing change.

This is a gritty read at times and throws up more questions than get answered but I think it's good for a book to challenge the reader to think.

Life is not perfect in the Ant Colony; Sam's run away from home and Bohemia's mum is a bit of a mess and not much of a role model. So the two young characters have a lot to deal with which I guess is true for a lot of young people. Something most teenagers could identify with.

Enjoyable, emotional and very engaging.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Stuart Moses VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed this book, which tells the story of the inhabitants of a set of flats in North London. The tale centres around the two characters who provide the first person narration; a 10-year-old girl, called Bohemia and a 17-year-old boy, called Sam. There is a dark secret at the heart of this book and the suspense is well crafted.

There is a pleasing mix of action, dialogue and thoughtful passages. In particular I liked the way the story compares the experience of living in a town and the countryside. There are flashes of delightful imagery that adorn the otherwise direct and easy to digest prose. The supporting characters are clearly and economically drawn.

The Ant Colony is an emotional read - especially if you're a parent - but it's not as harrowing as you might fear. It's suitable for early teens and above.
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5.0 out of 5 stars welcome to london 10 April 2009
By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
a novel for younger readers, complete in 216 pages. told in alternating chapters in the first person using two viewpoint characters. a 17 year old boy called sam and a 10 year old girl called bohemia. Both characters are written well in keeping with their age, and at the same time the prose is very readable.

This is probably better suited to slightly older children and teenagers as the setting and the characters are pretty mature and there's one use of relatively strong language.

the story is set in a house in london, and it's here where sam and bohemia both live. sam has come to london from a life in the countryside. for bohemia this is the latest place for living in a life with a mother who lives for the moment and moves from boyfriend to boyfriend very quickly.

several other people live there, including a savvy old lady called isobel who has a little dog called doormat.

the book is the story of sam and bohemia, and their lives. and how living at this house changes them. you don't find out initially why sam left the country. for about three quarters of the book it's more scenes of character and life than plot, but then things develop very interestingly once sam's secrets start to come out.

This is an exceptionally good read, thanks to strong characterisation making the characters into people you will care about [even one character who is not entirely sympathetic initially comes round in the end] and a well realised and very realistic setting. the title refers to a book that sam has in his possession about ants, and references ot this do lead to some thought provoking parts about human nature.

A hugely entertaining read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charming tale 28 April 2009
By Clever Spud TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Sam leaves his home in the country, running from a terrible secret, and tries to pick up the pieces of his life in the big smoke, London. He gets a room in a shared house and soon meets the other inhabitants, including Cherry and her daughter Bohemia, who've also only recently moved in, and the good hearted but nosey Isabel.

The story is told in generally alternating turns from the perspective of seventeen year old Sam and ten year old Bohemia, who strike up an unlikely acquaintance. The young girl innocently tries to draw out the introspective teenager, who she wants to be her new friend but Sam isn't ready for that.

The story concentrates primarily on the interactions between Sam, Bohemia and old Isabel and her equally geriatric dog. Bohemia's mother has ended up at the flats, having careened from one failed relationship to the next, oblivious to the responsibilities of motherhood and more concerned with partying every night. Because of the casual nature of her parenting, Bohemia bounces from Isabel to Sam, trying to find someone to anchor herself to.

I really enjoyed this book and the ending was genuinely heart-warming. I'd recommend it to anyone.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
As an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. A strangely compelling book, it covers a number of more adult issues including promiscuity, bullying and child abuse in a way which... Read more
Published 5 months ago by D.F
2.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed by daughter but disappointed as a Parent
My daughter has nearly finished this book and has enjoyed it. However I am disappointed to discover that the Author finds it acceptable to use four letter words within the story. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Sian Knight
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read for teens.
This is a great book for anyone around 12 years+ - It centres around a group of characters living together and their lives they live. Read more
Published 17 months ago by J Cattermole
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!
My daughter was given this book by her friend, and this is what she says: I think The Ant Colony is by far one of the best books I have ever read. Read more
Published on 28 Jan 2012 by POPSTARYAS
5.0 out of 5 stars no problemo ;)
From the very first page, I knew that this was my type of book. It was so inspiring, it made me laugh, and it made me cry as one part of it gets so emotional and you feel so much... Read more
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by madii
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
I really enjoyed reading this book. It isn't very long and is a real page turner making it quite a quick but enjoyable and rewarding read. Read more
Published on 20 Dec 2009 by DAZ
4.0 out of 5 stars My son has read it and he thinks it's great
My son has read this book and wants me to read it next: it is one of thoese types of books that bridge the generations and whatever your age you can enjoy reading this book. Read more
Published on 16 July 2009 by Victor Meldrew Mk2
3.0 out of 5 stars A good summer
When I chose the book I was expecting chick lit, not teen-lit and it took a couple of chapters to understand that it was aimed at children, not written by a hobbyist: an initial... Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2009 by T. S. Marsh
4.0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Read
I loved this story, it made me smile, laugh and cry.
My 13 year old however felt it a bit heavy for her taste, but then we all have different tastes. Read more
Published on 13 Jun 2009 by shaz17
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