The Survival Game

Paperback / softback

Main Details

Title The Survival Game
Authors and Contributors      By (author)   Nicky Singer
Physical Properties
Format:Paperback / softback
Dimensions(mm): Height 199,Width 189
CategoriesAdventure stories
Environment and green issues
ISBN 9781444944525
Teenage / Young Adult

Publishing Details

Publisher Hachette Children's Group
Imprint Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date 26 July 2018
NZ Release Date 26 July 2018
Publication Country United Kingdom


'A wonderful, surprisingly delicate story about a teenager making her way home to Scotland in a world remade by climate change (aimed at YA readers but, like all good children's books, good for adults too)' Lucy Mangan, i Weekend In a world full of checkpoints and controls, can love and hope defy the borders? A searing, timely story, as arresting as it is beautiful. Imagine a world ... Where there are too many people on a too-hot earth and your only chance of salvation is to journey north. Where you must prove yourself worthy of existence at every turn, at every checkpoint. Where your instincts become your most powerful weapon - even more than the gun in your pocket. Where you find out what it takes to survive. An extraordinary story about survival and what it costs, about the power of small kindnesses to change everything.

Author Biography

Nicky Singer is an author and playwright. She has written a number of books for children and adults, across fiction and non-fiction. Her first children's novel Feather Boy won the Blue Peter 'Book of the Year' Award, was adapted for TV (winning a BAFTA for Best Children's Drama) and commissioned by the National Theatre as a musical.


In this gripping near-future story, Nicky Singer tackles two urgent contemporary issues - global warming and mass migration. Desperate people are moving north, and Scotland is the new destination of dreams. Resilient 14-year-old Mhairi Bain is on her way to the Isle of Arran where her grandmother lives. Travelling alone, she has witnessed horrors that include the deaths of both parents. Tough but not heartless, she has taken pity on a mute African boy on the way. The chapters are short and tense, written in a boiled-down style. As a way of dealing with her trauma, Mhairi has created 'Castle', a mental fortress in which to conceal bad memories. It's a neat narrative device. The pair face many obstacles, dangers and border crossings, dramatizing the plight of the migrant in a world, compellingly evoked here, that is both oddly familiar and yet horrifyingly changed. * The Financial Times * Set in an another bleak, all-too-imaginable near future, Nicky Singer's The Survival Game (Hodder) follows 14-year-old Mhairi as she returns to her birthplace on the Isle of Arran, with an empty gun, her identity papers and a mute five-year-old in tow. In a world of hard borders, coldly allocated resources, truncated lifespans and judicial murder, traumatic loss has already robbed Mhairi of much of her humanity - has she enough left to keep her soul alive? Singer's bitter, demanding book is shot through with piercingly bright, unforgettable images. * The Guardian * Recent news about the treatment of refugee children makes this a particularly pertinent read. Singer's gripping and provocative book poses big ethical questions, and has an ending likely to polarise readers. -- Fiona Noble * The Observer * extraordinary novel * The Letterpress Project * A haunting novel, beautifully written that will stay with you long after the last page * WRD Magazine * A wonderful, surprisingly delicate story about a teenager making her way home to Scotland in a world remade by climate change (aimed at YA readers but, like all good children's books, good for adults too) -- Lucy Mangan * i Weekend * 'A powerful story. It's searingly beautiful but both terrifying and deeply sad. Nicky Singer writes with lyricism...But The Survival Game isn't just beautifully's raw and energetic, lyrical and beautiful, intense and passionate. It also asks important questions and requires the reader to interrogate her or himself...It's an absolute tour de force.' * The Book Bag *