Life isn't going terribly well for Derrick; he's become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he's hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it's all because of his sister.
Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart. When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to turn capture it.
Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he'll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?Panther is a bold and emotionally powerful novel that deals candidly with the effects of depression on those who suffer from it, and those who suffer alongside them.
Welcome to the BLOG TOUR for Panther by David Owen, I'm delighted to be the host here on Random Things today.
Panther was published by Corsair (Constable & Robinson) on 7 May 2015 in paperback and is David Owen's first novel. Corsair have kindly offered a paperback copy to one reader, if you'd like to win a copy of Panther, fill out the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this post.
Many of my blog followers don't read Young Adult novels. If you are one of those people, please, please, please put aside any preconceptions and read Panther. Although it probably is intended for a Young Adult audience, this is a perfect example of 'crossover' - anyone can and should sit down and read it. I loved it, it moved me, it made my heart hurt. It is beautiful, and real and quite wonderful.
David Owen is clever. His story is clever and his use of the Panther is very very clever.
There have been sighting in residential London streets of a Panther, and Derrick is determined that he will track it down and catch it. As far as Derrick is concerned, his family troubles began when the Panther was spotted. If he can get rid of it, he can make his family happy again.
Derrick also knows that when he has caught the Panther he won't feel the need to gorge himself on junk food any more. He won't have to make secret trips to the supermarket, or rummage around in dustbins to find his fix. He won't have to buy size XXXL t shirts from the charity shop and he will be able to find a pair of jeans that fit him.
When the Panther has been caught, Derrick's sister will stop crying. There won't be any more 'incidents'. The scars on her arms will fade and his Mum will be able to put the kitchen knives back into the drawers instead of hiding them in her bedroom.
Maybe, just maybe, when the Panther has been caught, Derrick's Mum and Dad will start getting on again, and maybe Dad will move back in.
There are scenes in this novel that so emotionally difficult, the words vividly show the anguish and despair of this teenage boy whose family has imploded. Using the Panther as a metaphor for the depressive illness that has torn the family apart is genius; the snarling, the ripping apart, the devastation and the fear caused by something that nobody can see, but everyone knows is there.
I haven't told you what the story is, I don't intend to. What I hope to have done is to make sure that you are so curious that you go out and buy a copy of this book immediately. I promise you that you won't be disappointed. You may feel a little emotionally battered by it it, but you will feel a sense of awe. It really is that good.
I am certain that Panther is going to be a huge success for David Owen. He is a very exciting new talent, certainly a name to watch out for.
My thanks to Grace from Constable & Robinson who arranged the Blog Tour and invited me to take part.
David Owen achieved a first class honours in BA Creative Writing and an MA Writing for Children at the University of Winchester, where he went on to teach on the BA Creative Writing course for three years.
He is also an awards-shortlisted games journalist, with a particular interest in the applications for video games outside of entertainment, and he has written about games being used to treat depression, dyslexia and autism.
David has been published as a poet in journals including Agenda and Seam. Panther is his first novel.
Find out more about David at www.davidowenbooks.com
Follow him on Twitter @davidowenauthor
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