This is the WASTED BLOG. For my main author website, click this link.

Awards: WASTED won the Read it or Else category in the Coventry Award and was runner-up in the North East Book Award. It is longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Manchester, Grampian, Angus, and RED Awards.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Jack plays a game of risk. Often. And very dangerously.

Warning: do not try this at home! There are plenty of games you can play with a coin which will not risk anything dangerous happening to you. Jack means no harm - he's somewhat damaged by stuff that happened to him when he was younger. Also, Wasted is a story, not real life... So, if you choose to play games with a coin, use your common sense and don't do anything dangerous to yourself or anyone else. (Sorry to sound like a boring adult, but I have to say this otherwise I'll be in trouble!)

Jack's Game is simple. Every now and then he decides to sacrifice himself to "luck". Although he was very unlucky as a baby and small child, he's pretty lucky now - and a bit cocky about it. He thinks that the reason he's lucky now is that he makes sacrifices to luck. He promises to do what the coin says, and if the coin brings him a bad result, he is fine with this because it means (he thinks) that this increases his chance of good luck next time.

One night, for example, he goes out of his house in the middle of the night (BAD idea!) and uses the coin to tell him whether to go left or right; then, at every corner he spins it again. This random journey takes him into huge danger and will affect the rest of the story.

Have you ever let a coin help you make a decision? If you have, or if you would, tell me about it. It's easy to imagine situations where it would be a good way to choose. For example, suppose you can't decide between two different garments in a shop, or your family is arguing about what to do on holiday, or about whether it's going to be chicken or fish. But you wouldn't get obsessed about it. Or would you?? I've had readers of Wasted tell me that they now look at coins differently, see a power in them they never saw before, think of luck and chance in an entirely new light.

Tomorrow, I'm going to show you what the pupils of St John's RC Community School in County Durham have been doing, using Wasted as a prompt for ideas. They came up with a way of playing Jack's Game in school assembly!

WHERE IS THE WASTED BLOG TOUR TODAY? Hop over to ace YA writer Keren David's blog and find me there. I absolutely massively loved her debut book, When I Was Joe, and I'm lucky enough to have read the sequel, Almost True, before publication. It's so gripping, so gritty, and SO good. It's just the sort of YA book I'm naturally drawn to.


Maribeth said...

I don't put much into this sort of action. Don't see much power in coins (not even to buy things any more lol).
But I must say following this blog has intrigued me and Wasted is on my TBR list.
This post has really left me thinking.
Giggles and Guns

Creepy Query Girl said...

Good question- unfortunatly I'm lucky if I even have a coin in my pocket to flip. And I realized 'eeny meeny miny moe' doesn't rely on chance...:)

Nicola Morgan said...

Thanks, Maribeth - I don't do the coin stuff either, actually.

CQG - indeed!

Keren David said...

Oh, thank you for the kind words and also for the fab blog post...perhaps you could write my blog for me all the time?
I have this horrible feeling that I flipped a coin to see if I should go to university or not. I can't quite remember - I may have blocked it out - but it does ring a distant bell. I was very into tossing coins for a while because I thought that it would tell me how I felt if I got the 'wrong' answer.

catdownunder said...

My paws do not know how to flip coins. Purrhaps this is this a good thing?
You do realise though that a cricket match begins with the flip of a coin? Coin flipping is obviously a very serious business - national honour is at stake in a cricket match!