Emily Thomas,


Andersen Press, 2018

ISBN 9781783446896

11-14 Shortlist 2019


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out of 5



Who Wrote It?

Emily Thomas was born in London, and has lived there most of her life – except between the ages of 13 and 18 when she lived in Maldon in Essex on board a Thames Sailing Barge, with her family of seven assorted siblings and stepsiblings and two warring cats. Emily also works as an editor of many different kinds of books, including children’s and young adult fiction. She now lives in Brixton, with no pets and a lot of books.

What's It About?

It’s 1979, and 13-year-old Lydia has no idea how she’ll cope when her dad announces that the family has to sell up and move onto a Thames sailing barge in Essex. With his girlfriend. And her three kids. Between trying to keep her clothes dry in a leaky cabin, disastrous hair-dye attempts, awkward encounters with local boys, and coping with her suddenly enormous and troublesome family, Lydia fears she’ll sink rather than swim.

Fact File

Mud is Emily’s first book and it’s also semi-autobiographical.

In 2015 she won the Branford Boase Award, with the author Rosie Rowell, for Leopold Blue.

Prawn crackers from Marks and Spencer are her go-to writing snack.

One of her ambitions is to write a TV drama.

To find out more about Emily follow her on Twitter @EmilyHThom.

Your Reviews

Mrs Blashill from Southfield Grange Trust:

After the death of his wife Lydia’s father has let his parenting duties slide. The first Lydia knows of this is when he announces that the family are going to live on a boat with his new wife Kate and her three children. Lydia has to negotiate her way through this minefield of a life.

The novel addresses a lot of teenage worries in a sensitive yet amusing manner, Lydia has a real personality and the reader has great empathy for her plight.

I enjoyed this book enormously and would recommend it to all students. It is a bitter-sweet coming of age novel, written in a diary format and set in the late 1970’s, early 1980’s which should be quite a revelation to today’s teenager – no mobile phones and no social media, to me, it was another reason to just love it.

Mrs Blashill gave Mud 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.

Rakia from Southfield Grange Campus:

This book starts off with you meeting 'Lydia', the main character, whose mother has unfortunately passed away about two years ago. Lydia's dad has had to sell the house as he has had problems with money. Lydia leaves her old life behind as she goes onto live with her dad’s new girlfriend and they go to live on a boat. A rusty, old boat. Follow Lydia as she gets used to life without her older sister (Elsa) and life with a new mother and new house (well, if you can call it that) and we'll see how she gets on. She has too make new friend struggle with school work, and maybe just maybe get out of the stinking boat they call a house.

This book was good, just not my cup of tea it reminded me of real life, I don't necessarily like that in a book I like a book to help me get away from reality. If you do like books that are realistic and are something you can relate to than this book is definitely for you.

Rakia gave Mud 3 out of 5 and now plans to read The Book Case: An Emily Lime Mystery by Dave Shelton.