The Gussie Series by Ann Kelley #SummerReads

Some of you may have noticed, but for all of July we are running a 3 for 2 special offer on nearly all Luath fiction books! To help you pick your #SummerReads, we’re putting together a couple of wee collections we think would go well together. So let’s start.

Ok, there are four books in this series, but you could get just three to start with, or buy all four – you’ll still get one free! The offer ends on 31st July, so get moving quickly – and make sure you order through this link to get your discount.

Ann Kelley won the 2007 Costa Award for the Bower Bird, the second book in the series. The series follows Gussie, a 12-year old girl born with a rare, life-threatening heart disease determined to live life to the fullest, experiencing typical adolescent problems such as love and parent troubles. While never complaining, she offers a direct and honest insight about herself and the world around her.


The Burying Beetle

It was after I ate King that everything started to go wrong in our entire family, as if someone had put an evil spell onto us, a hex – like a bad fairy godmother had said at my birth, when you are eleven you are going to be struck by a sorrow so big it will be like a lightning bolt. There will be grief like a sharp rock in your throat.

Twelve-year-old Gussie was born with a rare, life-threatening heart disease, but it hasn’t hampered her curiosity. When she reads about the Burying Beetle, which has the unusual habit of burying dead birds, mice, and other small animals by digging away the earth beneath them, it becomes her mission to find one. As she searches the Cornish coast for the elusive insect, Gussie learns be like the Burying Beetle, to bury things past and to live.


The Bower Bird

Winner of the 2007 Costa Prize

Gussie is twelve years old, loves animals and wants to be a photographer when she grows up. The only problem is that she’s unlikely to ever grown up.

‘I had open heart surgery last year, when I was eleven, and the healing process hasn’t finished yet. I now have an amazing scar that cuts me in half almost, as if I have survived a shark attack’.

Gussie needs a heart and lung transplant, but the donor list is as long as her arm and she can’t wait around that long. Gussie has things to do; finding her ancestors, coping with her parents’ divorce, and keeping an eye out for the wildlife in her garden.


Gussie is a twelve year old girl from St. Ives in Cornwall. She is passionate about learning, wildlife, poetry, literature, and she wants to be a photographer when she grows up. But her dreams were put on hold as she struggled with a serious heart condition.

Now she has got what she needed: a heart and lung transplant. But it isn’t working out quite the way she thought. Firstly she has to leave her beloved Cornwall to live in London and in the months following her operation she is unable to do very much except read and adopt a stray kitten, but she could do that when she was sick.

She craves adventure and experience beyond her four walls, until, that is, she hits upon a plan – she is going to get her divorced parents to fall in love again. It’s not going to be easy, her mum is still dating her doctor boyfriend and despises Gussie’s father, who happens to be living with his new girlfriend – the Snow Queen. But Gussie is a determined girl and there is only one thing that could stop her now.

A Snail’s Broken Shell

For the first time in years Gussie can run, climb and jump. Every breath she takes is easier now, and every step more confident, but Gussie can’t help wondering about her doner. Was she young? Had she been very sick or was there an accident? And with her new life comes a whole new set of problems. She is going back to school at last – but she doesn’t know anyone her own age, with the exception of Siobhan, the girl she hates most in the world.

With school not meeting up to her expectations, Gussie turns to her old pastimes of bird watching and photography, but troubling news awaits her there too. And the lightning strikes and Gussie must act at once.



As mankind strives to rebuild society in the wake of climate change, over-population and global food shortages, every day is a struggle for people like Sid and his younger sister Lo. They are ‘runners’- people whose very survival the government has outlawed. As they move west, trying to find family or somewhere they can call home, they must work out which of the people they meet on the way can be trusted, and which want to cut their adventure short. Encountering people on both sides of the law, as well as those who seem to exist outside it, Sid and Lo make and lose friends as they fight for their lives and each other.