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The Shell House [Hardcover]

Linda Newbery
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2002
The Shell House is a beautifully-written and sensitive portrayal of love, sexuality and spirituality over two generations. Greg’s casual interest in the history of a ruined mansion becomes more personal as he slowly discovers the tragic events that overwhelmed its last inhabitants. Set against a background of the modern day and the first World War, Greg’s contemporary beliefs become intertwined with those of Edmund, a foot soldier whose confusion about his sexuality and identity mirrors Greg’s own feelings of insecurity. This is a complex and thought-provoking book, written with elegance and subtlety. It will change the way you think.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books (1 July 2002)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0385603894
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385603898
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,283,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Linda Newbery began by writing teenage fiction, but has now written for all ages, with books ranging from a picture book, POSY, to her first novel for adults, QUARTER PAST TWO ON A WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. She is a winner of the Costa Children's Book Prize, for her young adult novel SET IN STONE, and has twice been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, as well as for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and for numerous regional awards. She has served as a judge for the Whitbread award and for the Guardian Prize.

Linda is a frequent visitor to schools, libraries and festivals, and has tutored several times for the Arvon Foundation. She lives in a small village in north Oxfordshire with her husband and two cats. She loves yoga, reading, gardening, walking and swimming, and is currently trying her hand at stone-carving.

For more information, visit Linda's website:

Product Description


... passionate and provoking ... --

... poised, mature, adventurous, lucidly written, challenging and thoroughly compelling ... vintage Linda Newbery. -- Chris Stephenson, Carousel

... the final chapters of this extremely satisfying novel deliver a series of clever twists. -- Geraldine Brennan, The TImes Educational Supplement

... unique exploration of spirituality and sexuality ... the final chapters of this extremely satisfying novel deliver a series of clever twists. -- Geraldine Brennan, The Times Educational Supplement

... wonderfully assured. Highly recommended. -- Robert Dunbar, The School Librarian, Autumn 2002

Newbery writes wonderfully ... -- Jonathan Douglas, The Financial Times

Newbery writes wonderfully. -- Jonathan Douglas, Weekend Financial Times

This is a novel to read, think about and then read again. -- Nicholas Tucker, The Independent

This is a novel to read, think about, and then read again. -- Michael Tucker, The Independent

Book Description

A moving tale of love and loss over two generations.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!!!!!! 16 Jan 2006
This book is a really good read, and deals with some adult issues in a very clever and sensitive way. It deals with issues about identity, religion and sexuality.
Its main character is a teenage boy called Greg, who comes across a burnt out ruin of an old house. There he meets a girl, who is a devout christian, and with her trys to discover the story behind the house. At the same time he is dealing with the issues of his own sexuality.
The book is well written, but is a little slow to start and slightly confusing with the switches between time at first. However, once you get in to it, you will not be able to put it down. One thing, I think this should really be classified as an adult book, with its themes and some of it's scenes.
Please read this, it's not possible to read this and dislke it!!!!!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely incredible 26 July 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As with many books that I later find to be absolutely amazing, I debated over whether to buy Shell House for quite a while. In the end I bought it, only because one of my friends had recommended it, and I needed something to read on holiday. But as soon as I got into it, I couldn't believe I hadn't bought it sooner.
The book is written following two different characters - Greg and Edmund, during two different times - modern day and during the First World War. The central characters in both time zones face similar problems, but in different situations. The description of being involved in the war was very detailed and extremely realistic. It was really interesting to see how the two different characters battled with their problems in different circumstances.
You immediately feel empathy towards all the main characters, and after a very short amount of time you begin to feel so deeply for them that it's almost impossible to tear yourself away from the story and back to reality.
This novel deals with many normal teenage issues - problems with sexuality, religion and even death amongst others. However, even though Linda Newbery tackles some potentially very difficult and emotional topics, it holds itself together incredibly well, and somehow still uplifts you at the end, even after the emotional roller-coaster it takes you on first!
I'm 14 but would recommend this book for anyone above the age of about 13, since it has some explicit content and wouldn't be suitable for a younger reader. However, it's a great read for anyone and it really makes you think. I love it. A definite 10 out of 10, and I'll be recommending it to everyone I know!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Shell House 27 Nov 2002
Whilst being somewhat slow to start, the Shell House by Linda Newbery, also errs on the side of incorporating too much scene setting, before it eventually gets down to what is ultimately the tender and challenging story about a young man's awakening to his own personal sexuality.
One of the novels central characters, Greg, is a teenager who stumbles across the restoration of a stately home and is drawn to the intrigue of its history. This particular history he hopes to piece together with his newfound friend and companion, a devout young teenage Christian girl whose parents are part of the restoration society. What is slowly revealed to the reader thereby is the story of another young man a few decades back, who was himself battling to deal with coming out of the closet about his own personal sexual preferences.
The various conflicts between love and faith, sexuality and familial duty are all explored in Newbery's book, which has been hailed in some circles as groundbreaking because of its honest portrayal of a young boy's need to be true to that which he feels and thinks.
The juxtaposition of constant questioning about faith, the Christian faith in particular, will no doubt rile some of the more conservative readers, but this is all necessary to underpin the core truth held within this book. That core truth being that young people will and should question the life lessons and values they learn from different sources and individuals, and should be trusted to make the right choices if they have a supportive, nurturing and caring environment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing 1 Feb 2005
By A Customer
This book is absolutely incredible. I was given it two years ago as a Christmas present, and now wonder why I didn't read it earlier.
It is very moving, and I found it very easy to empathise with the characters. I got into the book very quickly, and couldn't stop reading. I thought it was amazing how Linda Newberry managed to tackle the problems of everyday life in our time, but also in the First World War.
I would definitely recommend this book, and found it impossible to put down. As soon as I had finished I turned to the front and began to read again. This is my favourite book of all time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book I have read in a long time! 21 May 2003
By "me456"
I only read this because it was in the shortlist for the Carnegie Greenaway Award. I'm so glad that I did. The plot is intriguing and the novel draws the reader into the book itself. It is about discovering and exploring friendships, sexuality and religion and is extretemely realistic in the way it portrays feelings of love and betrayal. I won't say anything about the actual plot because it is a mystery story with plenty of logic behind it - a kind of 'Famous Five' on another level (and much more exciting, obviously!) and i wouldn't want to give anything away. My advice to anyone who is literate is to READ THIS BOOK. You won't regret it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
A budding photographer, Greg takes an interest in the dilapidated stately home Graveney Hall, seeing beauty where others see ruin. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Jo
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
This book is one of the most affecting that I've ever read. It's one of the few books I've ever which deals with two of the most important issues in a teenager's life - religion... Read more
Published on 10 Feb 2007 by Dmitri Shostakovich
5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem
I came across this book in my local library. It was sitting on a shelf labelled 'on sale'. So, with time and 50p to spare, I bought it. Read more
Published on 19 April 2006 by homesick_alien
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow.
I was first introduced to this book when me and some of my peers were lucky enough to meet Linda Newbery, at this time I hadn't actually read any of her books. Read more
Published on 23 Sep 2005 by "lovewilltearusapart"
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
this is fantastic, and is a brilliant read. the only thing that spoils it that it does sometimes appear that the author hasnt spent as much time on the first world war part, as it... Read more
Published on 17 July 2004 by "sisi252"
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
this is the most amazing moving book i have read. i chose it solely because of its content of first world war history, but found it really moving. Read more
Published on 11 Jun 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This is one of the best books I have read in an extremely long time. The narrative is fantastic, a beautiful mix between detailed and vague, leaving just the right amount for the... Read more
Published on 20 Jan 2004 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Powerful Young Adults' Book Around
I first read 'The Shell House' as part of a reading assignment and fell in love with it after the first few pages. Read more
Published on 2 Nov 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars What could have been a book of the century.
This book is about a normal teenage boy named Greg who all of a sudden, because of a stately home, finds his life being turned upside down. Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2003 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Entering the Shell House
One of the things that appeals to me when choosing my next read is the opening - the unusual and enigmatic first sentence of 'The Shell House' immediately introduces the troubles... Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2003 by "thecyberpixie"
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