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The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks

Longlisted for the Adrien Prize, 2022

Published by Rock the Boat
Distributed by Simon & Schuster


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About The Book

What if you could talk to animals?

Alice Tonks desperately wants to make friends at boarding school but, being autistic, she’s always found it hard to fit in. Then she discovers she is a “switcher” and can talk to animals. As she starts to explore her newfound abilities, to her horror she learns that creatures are going missing. Only Alice holds the key to solving the mystery and finding the culprit, but she’ll need to harness her full powers first. And to do that she’ll need a bit of help from her new friends—both human and animal.

A story about finding your voice, friendship, and unlikely heroes, for fans of A Kind of Spark

About The Author

Like Alice, Emily Kenny is autistic and wanted to write her debut novel about an autistic child protagonist. Emily studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, completed the MA in Children’s Literature at Roehampton University, and was part of the Spark Mentor scheme with WriteMentor. Emily works as a secondary school English teacher and Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, and lives in London.

Product Details

Raves and Reviews

‘Shades of Enid Blyton and Harry Potter and a fresh, wonderful magic of its very own. Twists, turns, friends, animals and a brilliant autistic heroine called Alice Tonks. Set in a boarding school by the sea!’

– Nicola Penfold, author of Where the World Turns Wild

‘A fabulous boarding school mystery with disappearing animals, twists and turns, and an amazing autistic protagonist.’

– Rashmi Sirdeshpande, author of Dosh

‘This is a beautiful book with the charm of goldfinches and the empathy and colours of chameleons and I really loved it... I can't wait to see Alice out in the world, doing her magic!’

– Zillah Bethell, author of A Whisper of Horses

‘Exciting, deftly plotted and full of surprises, this fantastic tale of Alice and her friends - both animal and human! - will sweep you away.’

– Sinéad O'Hart, author of The Eye of the North

‘Everyone says stories have heart but The Extraordinary Adventures of Alice Tonks has heart, soul and so much spirit.’

– Lindsay Galvin, author of Darwin’s Dragons

‘A boarding school adventure like Malory Towers. But… everyday drama of the school is shot through with magical events. And the protagonist of the story has a disability. A disabled figure in a fantasy is in itself something of a rarity. The skill with which Kenny draws together these diverse threads is truly impressive, making a book not easily to be forgotten.

– Books for Keeps, 5* review

‘A tale of friendship with an autistic protagonist, by an autistic author, this promises to be a great new series.’

– Bookseller

'Witty dialogue seasons the page-turning plot... Autistic author Kenny draws Alice’s experiences candidly and with nuance, while a self-accepting protagonist, clever conundrums, and an abundance of personality-packed talking animals give this boarding school mystery a classic feel.'

– Publishers Weekly

‘I absolutely loved it! An instant classic, in my opinion. Boarding school + animals + magic? Yes, please!... An autistic girl getting to be the hero in her own thrilling adventure, unravelling a mystery and not having to change or be a different person to fit in. That's a lot of ticked boxes. Young readers are going to find a firm favourite in this story, with the promise of more Tonks excitement to come!’

– Kate Foster, author of Paws

‘A charming adventure, filled with the kind of magic I wished for as a child, with an autistic protagonist. A great addition to the magical school stories shelf, absolutely chock full with animals.’

– Lizzie Huxley-Jones, editor of Stim

‘A sumptuous middle grade mystery that will intrigue and enchant animal lovers of all ages. I LOVED IT. Can’t wait for the next instalment in the series!’

– Jessica Scott-Whyte, author of The Asparagus Bunch

‘I LOVED it – with a main character you’ll root for, it’s the perfect mix of classic boarding school mystery with VERY high stake surprises.’

– Perdita Cargill, author of Diary of an Accidental Witch

‘An exciting fantasy mystery… Alice and her friends illustrate many ways of being special and show how being different can be a good thing... Alice’s adventures will appeal to fans of animals and magical boarding schools, and to anyone who has ever felt different.’

– Booklist

'An original, entertain, deftly scripted, and thoroughly 'kid friendly' story about finding your voice, friendship, and unlikely heroes… a fun read with a critically important underlying message with subtle reference to autism.’ Midwest Book Review

‘This is an outstanding debut novel by an autistic author… You could describe this book as Malory Towers with animals and it will hook you from page one.’

– Books for Keeps ‘10 of the Best School Stories’ selected by Rebecca Butler

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