Children's Fiction Book of the Year

Winner - A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

Holly Jackson

Electric Monkey

Breaking into the crowded YA market is no easy feat, but this “witty and ingenious writer”, as deemed by one judge, was certainly up to the challenge. Holly Jackson’s twist on a murder mystery tackled hard-hitting subjects such as racial injustice, drugs and consent, all while keeping the story age-appropriate. The “college report” format gave this book strong appeal in both the YA and adult markets.

Egmont worked with an outside partner, The Big Shot, on the campaign. Proofs, polaroids and other quirky campaign tactics created a cult following for the book before it hit the shelves, and a savvy digital advertising campaign ensured its success. Jackson’s part in the campaign went a long way too: she engaged with fans at signings and participated in meet and greets. The judges had a lot to say about this campaign, with one commenting: “The entire campaign from pre- to post-publication was unique, innovative and trend-setting.” Another thought Egmont’s campaign “showed the value a passionate publisher can add” to a title.

Egmont proved itself small but mighty with Jackson’s first novel, which had TCM sales in the UK of 59,000 units in 2019, making it the bestselling children’s and YA début since 2017. 

The Shortlist

  • The 117-Storey Treehouse
    Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton (Macmillan Children's Books)
    The Treehouse series' fifth year in the UK saw the ninth, The 117-Storey Treehouse, depict the ever-growing treehouse with hilarious text and illustrations by Terry Denton. Author Andy Griffiths was hands-on , speaking to over 5,000 kids in just one week.
  • A Pinch of Magic
    Michelle Harrison (Simon & Schuster Children's Books)
    Securing the Waterstones Book of the Month for two months, A Pinch of Magic is Harrison’s bestseller, with TCM sales of 57,800. The tale of sisters, curses and magic was a hit with reviewers; one called it “a fabulous magical adventure”.
  • A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
    Holly Jackson (Electric Monkey)
    With TCM sales of 59,000, this YA thriller was the bestselling children’s and YA début since 2017. Pip opens up a cold case and starts to reveal secrets somebody desperately wants hidden.
  • The Star Outside My Window
    Onjali Q. Raúf (Orion Children's Books)
    Onjali Q Raúf’s second novel explores the impact of domestic violence and celebrates the power of resilience. After a strong pre-publication campaign there were high expectations - and it didn't disappoint.
  • The Good Thieves
    Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury Children's Books)
    Branded “accessible, engaging and entirely unique”, Katherine Rundell’s heist adventure burst onto the scene. Set in prohibition-era New York, Rundell delightfully nods to the period throughout. It has won a host of prizes since its publication.
  • The Beast of Buckingham Palace
    David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins Children's Books)
    David Walliams’ latest sold a staggering 330,000 copies in its first three weeks, and ended 2019 with TCM sales of 545,000 copies. Helped by Tony Ross’ trademark illustrations, the book claimed the Christmas Number One.