The Shell House Paperback – 4 Sep 2003
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"Powerful, challenging reading for older teens" (Sunday Mirror)
"Compelling . . . Elegiac, even literary" (David Self TES)
"Celevrly intertwines two stories and encompasses some big themes . . . Intelligent and perceptive" (Guardian)
"A novel to read, think about, and then read again" (Independent)
"[An] enjoyably meaty read . . . Newbery writes wonderfully" (Financial Times)
A moving tale of love and loss over two generations.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!!!!!!
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!
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.
The Shell House is a dual narrative, going back and forth in time the roughly present day and First World War, following the lives of Greg and Edmund. Greg is a sixth former with an interest in photography who finds a new friend in Faith, the daughter of a Friend of Graveney Hall who are doing the home up, and discovers he's seeing his friend Jordan in a new light. Twenty one-year-old Edmund is fighting in the First World War, where he met Alex, the man who opened his eyes to what love is. He is struggling to work out how to live the life he wants, with Alex, when he is expected to come home, take over Graveney Hall, marry and produce a new heir. Edmund wants a life of love, but has been born into a life of responsibility.
Greg is a photographer, Edmund is a poet. So each chapter, depending on who's it is, is opened with a description of a photo - a photo Greg took, a photo that Greg would have taken if he had his camera on him, or a photo he's seen - or a poem written by Edmund. The photos and poems relate to what happens in each chapter, and they give you a fantastic insight into the personality and feelings of each character.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a book club choice & I enjoyed reading it. It was well constructed & portrayed how mixed-up a teenage boy can feel when his hormones are running wild.Published 3 months ago by Jane
I found this book incredibly enjoyable. Brilliantly written characters and a well structured plot, it is a mixture of two intertwining stories. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Rebecca Kydd
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 morePublished on 10 Feb. 2007 by Dmitri Shostakovich
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 morePublished on 19 April 2006 by homesick_alien
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 morePublished on 23 Sept. 2005
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. Read morePublished on 1 Feb. 2005
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 morePublished on 17 July 2004
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 morePublished on 11 Jun. 2004