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Feral Youth

"A triumph of authenticity, weaving a compelling story around important subjects and giving a voice to the unheard"

"The truth is, it ain't just a race thing. They talk like it is, but really and truly it's black against white, young against old, authorities against the rest. It's countless of things. There's bare reasons for feeling vexed right now."

Growing up on the roads of London and excluded from every school that would take her, Alesha is the poster girl for the nation's "feral youth". Life is about surviving, one day at a time.

When a young, eccentric teacher makes an unexpected reappearance in the fifteen-year-old's life, opening the door to a world of salaries, pianos and ambition, Alesha's instinct is to pull up her hood and return to the streets, sinking deeper into a cycle of crime, drug-dealing and violence.

But when everyone around her is rallying against the authorities in a war of haves and have-nots, Alesha finds herself caught in the crossfire, inextricably linked to the people she is trying to fight against.

Can she see a way out? And as riots sweep the nation, whose side will she take?

A bold, 'state of the nation' novel that will appeal to adults and teenagers alike - for fans of Kathryn Stockett's The Help, Stephen Kelman's Pigeon English and Push by Sapphire.

  • Audiobook available now
  • Soon to be a major motion picture
  • Watch the trailer on Polly Courtney's author page

"An astonishing achievement that breaks taboos, offering a fresh perspective and revealing a world most of us prefer to pretend does not exist."

"A shocking and unsentimental account of generation recession - Courtney raises uncomfortable questions about this abandoned generation of poor, semi-literate, “feral” youth." -- Independent on Sunday

"Courtney has an ability to breed empathy for a minority often subjected to negative stereotypes" -- Metro

"Feral Youth is as compelling as it is horrifying. It lifts the lid on the lives of marginalised young people that the media demonises and the rest of us prefer to ignore." -- Fiona Bawdon, Guardian / Reading the Riots

"Feral Youth is an important book." -- After Nyne

"Feral Youth is as life-affirming as Trainspotting and will connect with teenagers and adults alike." -- Lambert Nagle

"Feral Youth gives an insight into life on London’s streets beyond the negative stereotypes, provoking us to address the underlying causes of the riots." -- Patrick Regan OBE, XLP

"Feral Youth gives a unique insight into the very real problems encountered in some of our most deprived areas." -- Gary Trowsdale, Damilola Taylor Trust

"The underlying causes of the riots such as poverty, broken homes and deprivation were largely unexamined. This book changes that. If you want to understand why so many young people took to the streets, read this book." -- Sonya Thomas, Journalist & Researcher, Reading the Riots

"At last, a new writer of note - reminds me of the greatest of Doris Lessing." -- C. J. Terry

Scroll up and grab your copy of Feral Youth today

Important places

Peckham (10)


Southwark (159)


United Kingdom (21,421)

Other geographical areas

Greater London (7,856)