Nicking Time: 10/21/13
Set in Glasgow in the summer of 1976, Nicking Time by T. Traynor won the 2012 Kelpies Award. The book follows a group of school aged friends as they try to accomplish all their summer holiday goals.
As a contemporary (in terms of age, not geography) with Midge, Bru, Skooshie, Hector, and Lemur, I should have felt a nostalgic connection. But instead it read too much like those unavoidable, good-for-you books (or after school specials on TV that were unavoidable back then). I suppose that's good for building realistic characters set in a specific time period, but as someone who lived through that decade, their adventures didn't offer much in the way of something new (except a different location, as I was growing up in California at the time).
Worst yet, the true surprise of the book is jammed right at the end with no build up, no hint (beyond the title) that it's coming. One of the characters is literally living on borrowed time. And at the end the character ends up revealing this truth to the others with dire consequences.
Oh — if only this plot had been brought to the front burner. It would have been a delightful, creepy mixture of nostalgia and horror! But no, it's sitting in the back, simmering away until it finally boils over.
Better examples are both anime series from Japan: Another and The Melacholy of Haruhi Suzamiya (specifically, the eternal eight sequence). Watch those and skip this book (unless you're feeling nostalgic for 1970s Glasgow).