Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his partner Nick in the east end of London. When Danny gets a job working for an opportunistic politician who is pledging to keep Londoners safe from terrorism, Alena’s family life implodes, and she starts asking questions about her mother that Danny doesn’t want to answer.

Publisher: Andersen Press
ISBN: 9781783445240
Publication date: 01/06/17


Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018
Nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018
Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2018

“Amid a thoroughly contemporary story about terrorism, email leaks, and a divisive political climate, Lena’s coming-of-age is wonderfully individual and heartbreakingly real.”

Starred review, Kirkus

“A thoughtprovoking, richly layered YA novel about politics, love, grief and coming of age.”

Imogen Russell Williams,The Guardian

“[A] touching, truthful depiction of an unconventional family life”

Geraldine Brennan, The Observer

“Astute, intelligent, gripping, and thoroughly enjoyable, this is the best YA novel I’ve read this year.”


“a book that celebrates individuality and the braveness of being yourself. It is warm and hopeful and truthful and just might change the world.”

Rhino Reads

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