Books by Alex Shearer

THE MINISTRY OF GHOSTS by Alex Shearer
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 3, 2016

"Ghost-story fans won't be disappointed in the end, if they can slog that far through all the low-wattage civil-service satire. (Fantasy. 10-12)"
The threat of imminent shutdown prompts a small government agency to hire a pair of young independent contractors to capture a ghost in this British import. Read full book review >
THIS IS THE LIFE by Alex Shearer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"This pensive, poetic novel, based loosely on Shearer's own experience of losing his brother, humorously though sensitively expresses the complications of sibling relationships, the ambiguity of absolution, and the beauty of life in its last, tender moments."
Two English brothers unite after many years to make sense of the "bits and pieces" of memory, mortality and the thickness of blood in this poignant novel by Shearer (The Cloud Hunters, 2012, etc.). Read full book review >
SKY RUN by Alex Shearer
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 6, 2014

"Wise and wonderful, this is the archetypal Hero's Journey laced with gentle satire. (Adventure. 10-14)"
A hero's tale set in an alternate world. Read full book review >
CANNED by Alex Shearer
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2008

This macabre mystery may make readers give up canned foods. Fergal Banfield, an eccentric English lad with the peculiar hobby of collecting unlabelled cans from supermarket bargain bins, discovers a gold ear stud in his latest acquisition. The mystery deepens when he next discovers a severed human finger in another can. Fergal meets Charlotte, a fellow can-collector, who finds a human ear in one of her cans, and it goes with the gold stud. Fergal's investigation leads him to a pet-food factory owned by Mr. and Mrs. Dimble-Smith. Fergal makes the grisly discovery that the factory is staffed by enslaved young children from Africa and Asia, who become ingredients of the pet food when they grow old enough to resist captivity. Pressed into service and fearing for his life, Fergal gets a message to Charlotte on a can label about his situation and location, but no one believes her story. So it's Charlotte to the rescue! The grotesque elements of the story are more suggestive than descriptive, and Shearer's delightfully droll, dark humor makes for many light moments. Readers with a taste for the bizarre and gross will find this tale most tasty. (Fiction. 9-12) Read full book review >
SEA LEGS by Alex Shearer
ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 2005

A breathless, stream-of-consciousness first-person narrative voice, offbeat humor, and an oddly adult sensibility combine in a rambling adventure that may leave readers feeling as if they have just heard a very long shaggy dog tale. Twins Clive and Eric are motherless. Their father works as a steward on a cruise ship. Determined to stay close to their dad, the boys decide to stow away on his ship. How they escape detection (even when they unexpectedly run into a classmate and his family) and thwart an attack by thieves (the most improbable event in an unlikely plot) makes up the bulk of their story. Eric's faux naïve voice (he describes the women who occasionally spend the night with his father as "tired") and exaggerated criticism of his brother may grate on readers' nerves after the first 100 pages. Coincidences and sheer luck enable the twins to save the ship and escape punishment for their escapade. A final revelation suggests that the twins' relationship has changed dramatically. Unfortunately, most readers won't much care. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
THE GREAT BLUE YONDER by Alex Shearer
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 22, 2002

What's it like when you're dead? Do you go to Heaven or Hell? Do you become a ghost? Eleven-year old Harry learns the answers to these elemental questions when he's killed by a truck and finds himself wandering in the Other Lands with his new friend Arthur. The Other Lands are a pleasant place, with trees, fields, and a constantly setting sun, but Harry wonders what those signs pointing to the Great Blue Yonder might be. Arthur has a story of his own. He's been wandering the Other Lands for 150 years, searching for his mother. Eventually, Arthur leads Harry back down to Earth for "some haunting," and Harry visits his old school and his family. There, Harry finds a way to resolve the issue that's been holding him back from the Great Blue Yonder: his last argument with his sister just before he died. It's a novel, intriguing idea for a children's story, and Shearer (The Summer Sisters and the Dance Disaster, 1998, etc.) grounds his narrative in Harry's experiences without much reference to religious concepts. He focuses on major issues for children, such as what their friends think of them and the underlying love that exists even between battling siblings. Much of the narrative is repetitious, but young readers will likely find the whole concept, and Harry's adventures, fascinating. (Fiction. 10-14)Read full book review >
THE SUMMER SISTERS AND THE DANCE DISASTER by Alex Shearer
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1998

Unable to pay the bills simply forecasting weather, three young people decide to sell weather itself, 50 pence the sunbeam, with predictable results. Using magic tokens, the Summer sisters Melissa and Patricia—plus little brother Arthur, whom they dub an honorary sister—actually predict the weather with perfect accuracy, but since the pounds just aren't rolling in, the three turn to an overdue library book and dance up barrels full of rain clouds and sunny days to dispense. Disaster ensues, as first a vacation-ruining cloud gets in with the sunbeams, and then when Arthur accidentally snuffs out the sun. Supported by a cast of stock eccentrics and bemused parents, the sisters make a lively, contentious team, posing with disheveled grace in Kenyon's small, frequent black-and- white ink drawings. (Fiction. 10-12) Read full book review >