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Little Island to publish second YA novel by Helena Close

Little Island to publish second YA novel by author of award-winner The Gone Book – ‘a story full of heart and heartbreak’

Author Helena Close – photo by Adrian Butler

Little Island Books announces the acquisition of Things I Know by Helena Close, whose YA debut The Gone Book was published in 2020 to critical and award acclaim. Little Island Publisher Matthew Parkinson-Bennett acquired world rights in all languages directly from the author.

The Gone Book was selected for the 2020 Read for Empathy reading list and won a prestigious White Raven Award in 2021. It was the first-ever Irish-published book to receive a nomination for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards 2020 and the Irish Literacy Association Awards 2021. Bestselling novelist Donal Ryan said of The Gone Book: “Dark and gritty and desperately sad and wildly funny, this is as real as writing gets. Every line rings perfectly true.”

Things I Know explores the difficult subjects of suicide, guilt, mental illness and recovery with the same unflinching honesty and Close’s gift for capturing authentic teenage voices that won acclaim for The Gone Book. 

Saoirse can’t wait to leave school – but just before the final exams her ex-boyfriend dies by suicide. Everyone blames Saoirse, and her rumbling anxieties spiral out of control. Saoirse feels herself flailing in swirling waters that threaten to suck her into the depths. Can she, against all odds, rescue the self she used to know?

Little Island editor Siobhán Parkinson says:
“It was an unalloyed pleasure to work with Helena Close again. Her understanding of teenage anguish is deep and personal, and her voice is both pure Limerick and unerringly true to a universal youth experience. This novel is shot through with questions about grief and guilt, love and loyalty – and the human condition. A story that is full of heart and heartbreak. My kind of book; my kind of author! “

Helena Close adds:
Things I Know is a book that I felt compelled to write. We need to talk about mental health issues, the ways they manifest, and the surrounding stigma. Young people, in particular, deserve stories that help them process the world and their place in it. I am deeply proud of Things I Know. It’s brilliant to reunite once again with the Little Island team, and my wonderful and wise editor, Siobhán Parkinson.”

Things I Know will be published in May 2022.