NOMINATED FOR THE CARNEGIE MEDAL
SHORTLISTED FOR THE NORTH EAST TEENAGE FICTION AWARD
'It's beautifully written; rhythmic, lyrical ... the prose resonates, blending with its themes to stunning effect. And it's genuinely creepy too ... I made the final page after an evening's breathless reading, and put down the book with a real sense of regret that it was all over.' The Book Bag
Read chapter 1
A monster's out there... Only one girl can stop it. But will love get in the way?
It's a difficult time for fifteen-year-old Savannah Grey - she's settled into her latest foster placement, but her body is acting oddly.
Then other strange things begin to happen. Birds behave erratically; gusts of wind blow leaves so fiercely they seem to lure people away.
And Savannah discovers she has supernatural powers.
Only new boy Reece Gandolfo thinks Savannah's powers are a special gift. No wonder she's attracted to him. But there's another force that wants to lure Savannah from safety into danger...
If you're up against monsters with big claws you probably need sizeable claws of your own to compete
If I were to condense Savannah Grey into one central idea it would be: To kill a monster, do you have to become one?
I've always been unconvinced by the way in so much 9-12 and YA fantasy/sci-fi/horror the youngsters defeat the monsters by an unlikely combination of sheer luck and bravado. Nothing wrong with those things, but it seems to me that when you're up against real monsters with big claws you probably need sizeable claws of your own to compete. Either that, or you'd better have a more lethal and subtle surprise up your sleeve.
In this novel the teenagers confront true monsters which are - like all respectable monsters should be - exceptionally hard to kill. Three monsters, in fact: one a child, another so powerful that the whole of nature is pitted against it, and a final creature that ... well, you'll just have to see ...
What inspired your novel Savannah Grey?
I realised a while ago that all my own stories are one version or another of the Overcoming the Monster plot.
I decided to embrace this fully in Savannah Grey and created not one but three monsters. I wanted to explore the big-implacable-foe version of the monster — the Voldemort type if you like — which is interesting because it’s so subtle and powerful, so how are you going to defeat it?
I also wanted a baby monster — which I thought should be all appetite and unpredictability. But the most interesting kind of monster for me is a third type: the monster that only seems to be a monster - the monster that somehow represses its natural appetite to kill and maim and instead does the right thing, the moral thing.
Somehow, because the monster is built to destroy and harm, it requires a deeper humanity, a greater compassion, when the monster holds back than when we do it. When it does that the monster itself becomes the one who shows us what it means to be truly human.
A DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR SCHOOLS AND BOOK GROUPS
'Inventive and menacing ... the novel’s strengths are its clear, unclichéd prose and its power to evoke creepy events without descending into a mere gorefest. It offers a forceful frisson and
yet, unlike some books in this genre, it is possible to finish reading it without feeling sullied.' Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times
'An excellent horror story ... The Ocrassa is an alien which ranks with any of H.P.Lovecraft's monsters.' School Librarian
'It’s remarkably good ... What’s more, the intelligent, tortured Nyktomorph and its child, the ugly, ballet-dancing Horror, are two of the best villain’s henchthings in any recent fantasy ... This is head and shoulders above most other teenage fantasies.' SFX
'This is the strangest eco-warrior story I have ever read and also the most poignant. Savannah Grey is good, solid writing, with characters that sizzle and baddies that pray for a hero to come along and save the day ...' Liz de Jager, SFRevu
'A horror/sci-fi/romance that even the most reluctant reader will be hard pressed to ignore ... it works incredibly well ... it's like opening the door to a breath of fresh air.' Wondrous Reads
'This is a highly original take on a good versus evil horror story, with a touch of romance. The heroine of the story, Savannah, is a brave and intelligent girl with a mind of her own, but the creepy and brilliantly drawn Horror and Nyktomorph are the monstrous stars of this book.' Write Away
'Cliff McNish has a poetic lilt and literary charm not always seen in the horror genre. Once started, it's a difficult book to put down.' Carousel
'Haunting and powerful prose. What we have here is a genuinely creepy horror story, with elements of science fiction, fantasy and romance, but don't worry boys, although the romance plays an important part in the plot, it is by no means the principle theme — this honour most definitely belongs to the horror.'
The Book Zone
'Almost poetic at times. Add to this a cracking story arc, a wonderful understanding of prose and a tale that’s fascinating from the multiple viewpoints and it’s a tale that I think is perhaps McNish’s best to date.' Falcatta Times