Hay 2019: Jessica Townsend


One of my ‘Hay highlights’ was seeing Jessica Townsend as she told everyone about the wonderful world of Nevermoor and Morrigan Crow. Her bubbly personality and quick humour made the session full of fun as she told us how she became a writer- and how much she loves her job!


Telling us that it took her 10 years to write ‘Nevermoor’, Jessica encouraged everyone to keep trying and never give up on their dreams. We were all delighted when she confirmed that ‘Nevermoor’ is going to be a series of nine books, the title of the third to be announced soon.


Morrigan’s adventures continue in ‘Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow’. Invited to become a member of the Wundrous Society, Morrigan is looking forward to an exciting education as part of Unit 919; however, she soon finds that she is to be taught nothing but the evils of Wundersmiths whilst the rest of her team learn exciting new skills. In addition to this, someone is blackmailing the unit to keep Morrigan’s talent as a Wundersmith secret and with mysterious disappearances taking place, Morrigan finds herself viewed with suspicion and dislike. Will Morrigan be able to control her Wundersmith powers?


‘Wundersmith’ is every bit as enjoyable as its predecessor. Jessica’s infectious sense of humour permeates her writing and her world-building is second to none. The amazing Hotel Deucalion would be a fabulous place to visit, populated by wonderful characters and Nevermoor is as whimsical as ever. Yet ‘Wundersmith’ also shows the darker side of this magical place and Morrigan’s isolation and treatment at the hands of others is uncomfortable reading. The story moves at a pleasing pace towards its satisfying conclusion. I can’t wait for book three to discover what happens next!

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow Jessica Townsend

Orion ISBN: 978-1510104440

You can read our review of ‘Nevermoor’ here.

2018 Read Aloud Shortlist

So here it is...

the 2018 NSTBA Read Aloud shortlist.


Nevermoor- The Trials of Morrigan Crow   Jessica Townsend

Orion     ISBN:  978-1510103825

You can read the long list review here.


The Book Case - An Emily Lime Mystery      Dave Shelton

David Fickling Books       ISBN: 978-1910200544

You can read the long list review here.


Fabio The World's Greatest Flamingo Detective: The Case of the Missing Hippo

by Laura James, illustrated by Emily Fox

Bloomsbury     ISBN: 978- 1408889312

You can read the long list review here.


You Can't Make Me Go to Witch School!       Em Lynas, illustrated by Jamie Littler

Nosy Crow        ISBN: 978-1788000130

You can read the long list review here.

Congratulations to all! The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on the 10th November. 

LONG LIST REVIEW: Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow



Morrigan Crow is a cursed child who is doomed to die on her 11th birthday after a short life full of blame for everything from the death of a cat to gravy stains on the tablecloth.

As the inauspicious day arrives and she awaits her death, the wonderful but decidedly odd Jupiter North arrives to rescue her, snatching her from the clutches of the ‘Hunt of Smoke and Shadow’ (the means of her demise) and transports her to the magical city of Nevermoor.

The surprising reason for this turn of events is that Jupiter has chosen Morrigan as his unlikely candidate for the prestigious ‘Wundrous Society’; a select group of ‘people’ with extraordinary abilities of which he is a member. In order to get into this society, Morrigan must compete against other candidates in 4 deadly and difficult trials.

Each competitor has been  chosen for their ‘knack,’ a unique talent that sets them apart from others that will help them in their endeavour- that is, all the competitors except Morrigan- whose concern over her distinct lack of anything remarkable does not seem to bother her patron at all.

Morrigan likes her new colourful world which contains the friends and feeling of belonging her old life lacked: failing to get into the Society would see her exiled and return to the fate of the ‘Hunt’ so despite the seemingly insurmountable odds she is determined to succeed.

Nevermoor is a cinematic thrill ride of a read!

The intrepid, intelligent Morrigan Crow with her dry humour in the face of danger and her very human need to belong has sorted my ‘World Book Day’ costume dilemmas out for the foreseeable future and  the amazing world building that Jessica Townsend has done with Nevermoor and the truly awe inspiring Hotel Deucalion have been added to my list of fictional places that just HAVE to be realised and visited immediately.

Nevermoor and its inhabitants are as palpable as any J K Rowling  creation and those who love all things Potter will fall headlong into this brand new, much needed world of discovery and just like Morrigan, not want to leave. It is therefore good news that this book is the first in a series.

‘Nevermoor; The Trials of Morrigan Crow’ fully deserves its place in the ‘Read Aloud’ category of the ‘North Somerset Teachers Book Award’. It is a joy to read Morrigan’s story to a new magic- hungry generation and I can fully see this book being quoted by adults of the future as ‘the book that made them a reader’.

Nevermoor- The Trials of Morrigan Crow   Jessica Townsend

Orion     ISBN:  978-1510103825

You can read about Jessica's visit to one of our schools here.