It is 2084. Nuclear radiation has poisoned the country. Society has fallen apart. Starvation is rampant, and power shortages have resulted in piles of obsolete gadgetry. Necessity has driven those who've survived to complete self-reliance, if they have the means to do so. For Melissa and her Nan, survival is just about possible, so long as they can guard the tiny crop of potatoes in their back garden and find enough fuel to cook on - and as long as they are safely barricaded inside their home by curfew.For after dark, feral dogs hunt, and violent gangs from the old Olympic Stadium (now a miserable ghetto) roam to loot and plunder. If they catch you, they are not merciful; so when Melissa falls into the hands of Careem's gang, her prospects look bleak. But Careem soon realises that she might just be more valuable alive, as a ransom victim. However, he hasn't reckoned with Melissa's resourcefulness. Soon part of his young gang are completely beguiled by Melissa and her story of a hidden valley in Scotland - a place that sounds like a comparative paradise, if they can get there. But, apparently only Melissa knows the way, and only she can lead them there. But Melissa is hiding a secret. She has never been to Scotland in her life, let alone a mythically Elysian valley there. Can Melissa's stories keep her alive long enough to escape - or will they get her killed?
When society has fallen apart, it takes the power of stories to provide survivors with hope
Sarah was born in Cheltenham and raised in the Cotswolds, and received a BA from Winchester School of Art and an MA from the Royal College of Art. Sarah spent over fifteen years in West Africa as a teacher and now teaches English in Lewisham.Sarah has written three previous books, has donated a story to an Amnesty International anthology, has given workshops for the SCBWI, and is the current Chair of the Children's Writers and Illustrators in South London society. THE DOOR OF NO RETURN won the Glen Dimplex New Writer's award for children's literature in 2007 and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase. Sarah is also the author of ANGEL DUST and SIEGE. Visit Sarah at www.sarahmussi.com and on Twitter: @sarahmussi