Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, this is the dark and gripping tale of a young boy's struggle to escape the horrors of his childhood - and the violent destiny he fears must await him.
Edward is four years old when he is locked away with his mother by her abusive, alcoholic partner, Harris. By the time an elderly neighbour spots his pale face peering through a crack in the boarded-up window and raises the alarm, he is seven.
Rescue comes, but lasting damage has been done. Sent to live with a kindly foster family, and then adopted, Edward struggles to adapt to normal life. Even as a teenager it’s still clear to his new family and schoolmates there’s something odd about him.
Then one fateful day, Edward catches a glimpse of himself in a photograph. What he sees shocks him to the core – a vision of Harris. Was this monster his father all along? And does that mean that, deep down, another Harris is waiting to break out?
Every step of progress Edward has made swiftly begins to unravel, and he has to decide whether his blood will determine his future.
“Strong stuff from a writer who is never afraid to be outspoken”
Nicholas Tucker, Independent
“Reading Anne Fine’s work is always a challenge as well as a delight. She’s like a difficult relative who appears at family events and tells everyone a few home truths, yet gets away with it because she has such a wickedly witty turn of phrase”
Tony Bradman, Guardian
“A riveting read”
“Once again Fine proves why she is such a prolific author with this dangerous and dark new book . . . Evocative, emotional and beautifully imagined”
We Love This Book
Marilyn Brocklehurst, The Bookseller
“Written with clear sight, understanding and elegance . . . Blood Family covers the age-old debate between nature and nurture. It asks if our past can ever be banished. It's about guilt, grief, and anger. But it's also about redemption. It's beautifully, carefully, written. And it feels very, very truthful. I believed every single word - from the degradation of Edward's early life, through the biddable but disassociated child in the early aftermath and the often crass actions of social services, right to the inevitable breakdown in Edward's adolescence. It's the best story in the kitchen sink style I've read in a long time. And I think it'll win prizes”
Jill Murphy, The Bookbag
“To me Blood Family felt like a totally different Anne Fine from what I've read before. It is well written, and draws you in from the beginning. (This book) is less about the importance of blood families, and more about how things can go right – or wrong – for anyone, at any time. It’s worth remembering. Things can easily go right. Things don’t have to be all disastrous and wrong. No matter what kind of start to life you had, it can become good”
“Her most powerful book yet”
“I was completely and utterly drawn in by this book and finished it in one sitting . . . A fantastically dark and insightful read which I would highly recommend”
The Overflowing Library