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By Isabel Ashdown
Published by Myriad Editions
ISBN 978-0-9549309-7-4
October 2009


Winner of the 2008 Mail on Sunday Novel Competition

Portsmouth, 1984. Thirteen-year-old Jake’s world is unravelling as his father and older brother leave home, and his mother plunges into alcoholic freefall. Despite his turbulent home life, Jake is an irrepressible teenager and his troubled mother is not the only thing on his mind: there’s the hi-fi he’s saving up for, his growing passion for Greek mythology (and his pretty classics teacher), and the anticipation of brief visits to see his dad. When his parents reconcile, life finally seems to be looking up. Their first family holiday, announced over scampi and chips in the Royal Oak, promises to be the icing on the cake – until long-unspoken family secrets begin to surface.

Author's Biography

Isabel Ashdown lives in Chichester. She worked in the cosmetics industry for 15 years, frequently travelling throughout Europe and the United States. Despite not having written since school, in 2004 she gave up her senior management role to test her long-held ambition to become a writer, enrolling on a BA in Creative Writing at Chichester University. She went on to win the 2008 Mail on Sunday Novel Competition with an extract from Glasshopper. She is currently completing an MA in Creative Writing, and working on her second novel.


Fay Weldon read an advance copy of Glasshopper and described the novel as “engrossing and moving”.

£7.99  Paperback

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Reader Comments

Easily the best book i have read all year. Very quickly you become immersed in the characters' lives and as someone who grew up in the 80's the main character struck a resonant chord. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I loved this book. It was powerful and cleverly woven, drawing you into the lives and characters of the people - it would make a fabulous film too! I eagerly await the author's next book.
I really enjoyed this book. The characters captured me in the first chapter and I found myself stealing every opportunity to read a few pages. I can't wait for the next novel from Isabel Ashdown and hope she decides to write a follow up to Glasshopper. I want to know what happens next!
Terrific stuff, ripe with colour and texture. If you read the synopsis and think this book isn't for you, think again. The characters evolve as the story grows and you will feel compelled to live with them right to the dramatic conclusion. With this first novel, Isabel has sown the seeds of a stunning writing career.
I haven't read such a wondeful book for a long time. The writer takes you on a (cinematically written) journey inside the lives of some lovely yet vulnerable people. Funny, endearing, sad, captivating. I loved reading every page and I can't wait for the next book to be published.
Glasshopper is a wonderful, thought-provoking story. I couldn't put it down and it had me feeling quite protective about the characters. I love the way the decades are so beautifully woven together. I am really looking forward to the next book from Isabel Ashdown!
Mind blowingly good!
A superbly written first novel, captivating, heart warming and filled with touches of humour. Couldn't put it down.
Powerfully written, a beautiful book that made me laugh and cry and filled me with nostalgia. This book will take it's place along side my dog eared, re-read select few.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. Well written, very realistic and some twists and turns along the way to keep you thinking. Would happily recommend it.
Wonderful book, written with such attention to detail. If you were a child of the 80's you will love this book. Get's you from the first chapter, you won't be able to put it down!
One of the best novels I have read in a long time. I will certainly be recommending this book to my friends. Looking forward to Issie Ashdown's next one!!
A literary marvel!
This is a lovely book - characters and scenes superbly, believably and almost cinematically drawn in beautifully crafted prose. And their narrative is carefully portrayed without pull any punches about the reality of the situation. The principal characters are still very clear and real to me having read Glasshopper some weeks ago. I have already bought a second copy for my niece - and look forward keenly to Isabel Ashdown's second book.
Started reading at 2 O'clock in the afternoon. Couldn't put it down and finished it that evening. Brilliant. A book I could read again and still enjoy a second time.
Amazing - I could not put it down - gripped till the end with a conclusion that delivered with a bang!
An excellent first novel from Isabel Ashdown. The story is threaded with a mixture of heartache and laugh out loud humour.
As a lad who grew up in Pompey in the 70's-80's, I can relate to this excellent book very well.
Fantastic story and brilliantly written - both Jake's story and his mothers are so emotional, they draw you into their lives.
Every page is both wonderfully funny and heart renchingly sad. Just brilliant.
The best book I've read all year.
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