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Mark Illis: The Impossible: On the Run

Something very strange happened in Gilpin last summer. A year later, everyone hoped it was in the past, done with. But it’s happening again. All the teenagers in town are mutating in strange and sometimes life-threatening ways.

Hector and his friends, Asha, Grace and Josh, discover that the problem is centred around a thirteen-year-old boy called Connor. So they know what they’ve got to do, it’s simple – they have to get Connor out of Gilpin, far away, and then everything will be fine. So they grab Connor, jump in a camper van and drive North. Problem is, they’re being chased by Connor’s super-strong, super-angry twin sister Ruby. And also by the army. And also, Grace has seen the future, and she knows that one of them is going to die.

This novel isn’t just about action, I also wanted to write about friendship and siblings and parents, about how in the end our relationships matter more than pretty much anything else. There’s a metaphorical layer in the book too, about the changes that barge into teenagers’ lives, and how difficult it is to cope with them. But along with that, there’s a potentially world-ending problem Hector and his friends need to face, and a government facility staffed by SAS types they need to escape from. And did I mention the aliens?

The Impossible: On the Run is the sequel to 2017’s The Impossible (winner of a Northern Writers’ Award.) It’s aimed primarily at 12 – 15 year olds, but has been enjoyed by younger and by much older readers!

Mark Illis has written extensively for TV, including EastEndersThe Bill and Emmerdale. He also wrote the award-winning screenplay for Before Dawn. He has had three adult novels published by Bloomsbury, and more recently two by Salt. The Impossible won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2015. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, with his wife and two children.


Reddish Vale High School,
Reddish Vale Rd, Reddish, Stockport SK57HD
Wednesday 6 March, 10am
(School event, not open to the public)

Burnside School, St Peter’s Rd, Wallsend NE28 7LQ
(School event, not open to the public)
Thursday 21 March, 1.30pm

Washington Town Centre Library,
Washington Hwy, Washington, NE38 7RT
Thursday 4 April, 10.30am
(School event, not open to the public)

Dewsbury Library,
Dewsbury Retail Park, Railway St, Dewsbury, WF12 8EQ
Wednesday 17 April, 1pm

Tomorden Library,
8 Rochdale Rd, Tomorden, OL14 5AA
Thursday 2 May, 1.30pm
(School Workshop – also open to the public)

Longcroft School, Beverley HU17 7EJ
(School event, not open to the public)
Wednesday 15 May

The Word Library,
Market Place, South Shields, NE33 1JF
Wednesday 22 May, 10am – 12pm
(School event, not open to the public)

Workington Library,
8A Oxford St, Workington, CA14 2NA
Tuesday 11 June, 10am
(School event, not open to the public)

The Big Malarkey Festival,
East Park, 453 Holderness Road, Hull, HU8 8JU
Sunday 30 June, 1.30pm – 3pm
(Author talk and workshop for teenagers)

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