Catherine Barter,


Andersen Press, 2017

ISBN 9781783445240

14-16 Shortlist 2018


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out of 5



Who Wrote It?

Troublemakers is Catherine Barter’s first novel. She lives in East London and co-manages a radical independent bookshop in King’s Cross. She worked for 10 years in Norwich in a library, bookshop and for an organisation campaigning for the rights of garment workers.

Catherine always wanted to be a writer, but she also always wanted to be a librarian, bookseller, gymnast or singer amongst others!

What's It About?

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 boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off. Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.

Fact File

Catherine has a PhD in American Literature.

She likes scary movies, including The Shining, The Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, Jaws and The Woman in Black.

Her favourite authors at the moment include Judy Blume, David Almond, Patrick Ness, Margaret Atwood and Sherman Alexie.

To find out more about Catherine, visit her website:

or follow her on Twitter: @okayjane

Your Reviews

Emily from King James's School:

I think the main characters, Alena and Danny were very interesting and developed, though I found it hard to relate to them for the majority of the time. The story is secretive at the start but opens out through the book however I found it dull at times.

Emily gave Troublemakers 2 out of 5 and now plans to read Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green.