Skip to Main Content

Talking to Alaska

Translated by Laura Watkinson
Published by Rock the Boat
Distributed by Simon & Schuster



Buy from Other Retailers

About The Book

A powerful story of two unlikely friends brought together by the love of a dog

‘Timeless and clever.’ Sophie Dahl

Sometimes rivals just need a helping paw...

It only takes one day at their new school for Parker and Sven to become mortal enemies. Parker's had a terrible summer and just wants to be invisible, while Sven is desperate to make an impression and be known as anything other than "that boy with epilepsy."

When Parker discovers her beloved dog Alaska – who she had to give away last year – now belongs to Sven, she's determined to steal Alaska back. Of course, that's easier said than done...

About The Author

Anna Woltz is an internationally bestselling children’s author based in the Netherlands. She has written twenty-six books for young readers, which have been translated into twenty-four languages and won numerous prizes. My Especially Weird Week with Tess, which Rock the Boat will publish in 2023, was made into an award-winning film titled My Extraordinary Summer with Tess. It has been translated into thirteen languages.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Rock the Boat (March 2, 2021)
  • Length: 192 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861540969
  • Ages: 10 - 14

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

‘A super original, tense YA story about two struggling outsiders, connected by a dog – it's timeless and clever.’

– Sophie Dahl, author of Madame Badobedah

Talking to Alaska's strong characters and intriguing plot are powerful hooks into this heartfelt story.’

– Florentyna Martin, Waterstones Children's Book Buyer

‘Parker and Sven can't stand each other but I loved them both from the very first page. Feisty and believable, both vulnerable in different ways, they are linked together by Alaska, Parker's beloved dog who, she discovers, now belongs to Sven. Themes of friendship, loneliness, damage and privacy are woven into a tense story with characters that jump off the page, this will be an unmissable debut in the UK.’

– Jill Coleman, Director of Children's Books, BookTrust

‘From the start Alaska caught me with its unclichéd voices. It has two strikingly engaging young protagonists: the boy determined to be known for something other than his epilepsy and the outsider girl in mourning for her lost dog. Original in both the prose and the characterisation, this friendship drama and mystery story is a cut above.’

– Nicolette Jones, BookTrust judge

‘From the very first pages you are invested in the main characters. Big issues are dealt with in a sensitive accessible way and the story moves at a terrific pace. Highly recommended.’

– Simon Key, BookTrust judge

‘This is a riveting story with an intricate plot, wonderfully told. Epilepsy… is very sensitively handled. Adolescent surges of feelings such as loyalty, anger and love are skilfully integrated into the plot. The translator, Laura Watkinson, deserves special thanks for bringing her considerable skill to making this story accessible to an English audience.’

– School Librarian

'For animal-loving readers, the fluffy white dog may be reason enough to add this to collections, but the deeper layers of story make it a must.'

– Booklist, starred review

'As heart-warming as it is thought-provoking… Woltz plants the reader squarely in the characters' shoes, making themes of understanding, hurt, friendship and privacy feel deeply personal. Laura Watkinson's translation into English deserves a special mention too.'

– SchoolNotices

‘[Woltz] does not shy away from the dark feelings Sven has towards his epilepsy and towards himself as its bearer. Woltz’s achievement is significant. Few writers depicting young characters with various impairments choose to depict the full range of emotions such characters feel. Woltz also highlights both sides of the phenomenon of social media, both its positive and its negative aspects… Watkinson’s translation feels excellent, smooth and unmannered.’

– Books for Keeps

‘Sometimes you pick up a book that instantly draws you in. Talking to Alaska is such a book…Talking to Alaska highlights anxieties that many teenagers live with but it also shows that being open and honest can, in many cases, help allay fears and trauma.’

– Good Reading Magazine

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Anna Woltz