Juno Dawson’s CLEAN and HEAD KID by David Baddiel, illustrated by Steven Lenton, up for the National Book Awards

Clean by Juno Dawson, and Head Kid by David Baddiel, illustrated by Steven Lenton, have been shortlisted for the Specsaver’s National Book Awards 2018.


Dawson’s Clean, nominated in the Young Adult category, follows Lexi Volkov, daughter of a Russian millionaire and a girl who’s life is going off the rails.

Lexi has hit rock bottom. After almost overdosing in a penthouse suite her brother stages an intervention and takes her to the Clarity Centre, an island facility for troubled young people.

After a gruelling and painful detox, Lexi enters group therapy and meets her fellow ‘inmates’. Through her therapy sessions and the Clarity Centre’s Ten Steps Programme, Lexi gradually opens up about her fractured childhood, destructive relationships and the dark secret she has been running from.

But it’s her new friendships that make Lexi re- evaluate the path she’s on. Stripped of her status, she is free to laugh, dance, share and feel. Forthe first time ever, Lexi has true friends and findsherself powerfully drawn to Brady. But with the demons both Lexi and Brady need to overcome, is a relationship even possible?


Head Kid, illustrated by Steven Lenton, nominated in the Children’s category, is a wildly entertaining wish-fulfilment adventure that asks the question: what would happen if the strictest head teacher swapped bodies with the naughtiest kid in school?

Strictest head ÷ naughtiest boy = chaos.

Bracket Wood is about to be visited by the school inspectors. But there’s one big problem: Ryan Ward.

The maestro of practical jokes, Ryan has played so many tricks that in the end the Head Teacher just walks out. And then the new Head Teacher, Mr Carter, arrives. A man so strict even the teachers are scared of him. So imagine his surprise – and Ryan’s – when they swap bodies.

Now Ryan is Head Teacher – and his mortal enemy is one of his pupils. It’s every naughty kid’s dream!

But soon Bracket Wood School is in a total mess – and only its worst ever pupil can fix it…


The winners of the categories, and overall book of the year, will be announced at an award ceremony on November 20th.

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