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The judges remarked: 'It's good to know that the books on the Carnegie shortlist will help children explore the dark side of life in the safe, sensitive hands of such excellent authors.' Of Junk, they said: 'Nine narrative voices, each with a chapter of its own, are woven into the harrowing story of Gemma, Tar and their friends' descent into drug addiction. The issues are tough and the style compelling. We particularly admired the sensitive characterisation.'

David Porter

By Melvin Burgess Penguin. 278 pages. £4.99


There has been something of a furore over the Library Association's award of its Carnegie Medal to Melvin Burgess for Junk. The award - which makes Burgess the latest in a roll of honour that includes C.S. Lewis - was chosen from a shortlist that included several books dealing with bullying and drug addiction.