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Never Trust a Gemini
Never Trust a Gemini

FEATURED BOOK FOR TEENS/YA - a laugh-out-loud LGBTQ+ romantic comedy from stellar debut talent, Freja Nicole Woolf. For ages 12+

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Reader Q&A with Mitch Johnson

Reader Henry and author Mitch Johnson

Our reviewers love Spark - the explosive, new, middle-grade adventure by author Mitch Johnson.

Set in a dystopian future impacted by climate change, where the world is unbearably hot and the water has run dry, this thrilling, action-packed read is already a hit with our readers. 

Henry, aged 10, described it as "epic and awesome" and said in his review:

"If you are looking for a book that is exciting and gets you wanting to read more then I think this book is the one."

He had the chance to find out more about the book, by sending some questions to Mitch about the book, his writing and inspiration, and his attitude to climate change. 

Check out their fantastic Q&A below.

Reader Q&A with Mitch Johnson

reader Q&A with Mitch johnson

1. Were you inspired by Climate change to write Spark?

Absolutely. I wanted to write an adventure in which all of the dangers and obstacles were caused – directly or indirectly – by climate change. Although Spark is set at an undisclosed point in the future in a world that is hot and stormy, I’ve tried to make it feel medieval, as I imagine that climate collapse would reverse much of the progress we have made.

2. How do you create your characters, are they based on people you know, if so who is Ash?

I don’t tend to base my characters on real people, although I do sometimes combine specific traits and idiosyncrasies to create a kind of hybrid. Ash is the result of me trying to imagine what it would be like to live in such a cruel and inhospitable world: he is angry and confused, but most of all I think he is afraid.

3. Do book ideas pop into your head when you are eating breakfast?

Not really, although I do tend to write better early in the morning. What is more common is that ideas pop into my head as I’m falling asleep at night. The challenge is in dragging yourself up from semi-consciousness to scribble them down. If I don’t, I almost always forget them!

4. In Spark the world is super hot, what do you do to stay cool?

I’m not a big fan of hot weather (I get grumpy), but I drink a lot of water and this does tend to help.

5. What have you done to help climate change?

I try to use the car as little as possible: I walk, I cycle, and on really grim days I use public transport. I also don’t eat meat and haven’t done for the last ten years; going veggie or vegan is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

6.  What is your favourite children's book ever? (apart from your own!)

My favourite book as a boy was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It’s a bizarre adventure through the Kingdom of Wisdom – a place where words and numbers come to life – and it features loads of eccentric characters and clever little details and mind-bending concepts, all of which I just loved. More recently I read Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson, which is a rich and vivid story set in the Amazon, and it instantly became one of my all-time favourites.

7. If you could have told something to yourself when you were a child what would it have been?

Don’t worry about being weird. Weird will be your rocket fuel.

8. What's your favourite thing to do when you are not writing books?


9. All of your books have been quite different, what will your next book be about?

I’m hoping to write about Amazonian deforestation and mass extinction in my next book, and I’d like it to feature a very rare frog that secretes an extraordinarily powerful toxin...

10. If you had a Spark, what changes would you make to the world?

I think if I could change one thing, I would make kindness a higher priority for everyone. I think that would solve most of our problems.

Reader Q&A with Mitch Johnson
Book pages Placeholder Book


In a world struggling to exist, only the strongest will survive. The explosive, action-packed new adventure from the award-winning author of Kick and Pop!

Ash has always lived in Last Village, lonely since the day his father left and never came back.

The world is unbearably hot, water is drying up, and life is hard. After a vicious thunderstorm, Ash wakes to find that the village's water has completely run out, and all the other villagers have mysteriously disappeared.

Accompanied by the outcast Bronwyn, Ash sets off in search of water, for answers about what happened to the villagers, with hope they might find 'The Kingdom' - a rumoured land to the north where life still flourishes.

Ash and Bronwyn have to survive a journey across an arid landscape, discovering that other people out there are even more dangerous than the lightning strikes that follow them. Then they reach The Wall - beyond it, something impossible.

Lying in wait are the answers Ash is searching for, and maybe even the truth about what happened to his father. If only he could get past The Wall...

Sometimes all it takes is just one spark.

Praise for Mitch Johnson

'Fizzes with adventure and great characters who pop from the page' - Peter Bunzl, bestselling author of Cogheart

'I read it all in one gulp!' -
Ross Welford, bestselling author of Time Travelling with a Hamster

'A bonkers Willy-Wonka nightmare designed to get children thinking about the effects of everything they buy'
- Ross Montgomery, bestselling author of The Midnight Guardians

'A zany adventure that will make you bubble with laughter and fizz with indignation on behalf of our planet'
- Maria Kuzniar, bestselling author of The Ship of Shadows

'An exploding soda geyser of a book - an adventure story that will make you laugh, make you angry and make you want to do something to fix this crazy, messed up world'
- Charlie Higson, bestselling author of Young Bond and The Enemy

' Pop! is an explosive and unforgettable adventure with defiant heroes, devious villains, deadly corporate secrets all told with Johnson's brilliant humour. I loved it'
- Tamsin Winter, bestselling author of Jemima Small Versus the Universe


more by mitch johnson

Reader Q&A with Mitch Johnson

28th February 2022

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Featured Book
Never Trust a Gemini
Never Trust a Gemini

FEATURED BOOK FOR TEENS/YA - a laugh-out-loud LGBTQ+ romantic comedy from stellar debut talent, Freja Nicole Woolf. For ages 12+

View book