Winner of the Dioraphte Prize 2017 (Best YA)
English sample translation available
According to Robin you had to try everything. Only by doing it did you know what it really was.
His motto: ‘Go ahead, don’t be afraid. Fear is not an option. That’s all there is to it.’
Once Anna decides to run away, things move fast. A lorry stops for her before she even reaches the motorway. It turns out to be going all the way to Barcelona. ‘You’re lucky,’ says the driver, a female gnome wearing red clogs.
Anna does not know if she is lucky, but she does know that she is looking for happiness, as well as freedom, and something to fill the void. A jackdaw comes along for the ride, perched on her shoulders, which is a good start.
In Barcelona, Anna meets Barry. Barry is the king of the street, a self-imposed outsider. Barry celebrates the night. He is above society and has invented his own laws.
The same goes for the musicians he hangs around with. There is the tough life on the street, heat, no money, dust. There is also the freedom of the penniless. If you have nothing, you have nothing to protect.
In this cinematic book, a runaway turns into a headstrong outsider, someone who knows not only what to do next, but also where she has come from. It is a book about daring to move on, but also facing the past. Away is inspired by the childhood experiences of the author, who ran away as a fifteen-year-old girl, eventually ending up in Barcelona, where she played the violin on the streets and tried to become acrobat.
‘Jowi Schmitz grabs you by the short hairs and drags you into the story from the very first page. Add to that the ingenious structure and the numerous extraordinary scenes and you know that you are dealing with multi-layered literature with a capital L.’ – Jury Dioraphte Prize
‘The story gets off to a flying start with colourful, convincing characters.’ – **** 7Days
‘Thanks to those brilliant psychological portrayals Schmitz’s characters come to life from the very first page, and that obviously requires a masterful author.’ – tzum.nl
‘This is a fully-fledged novel that will captivate everyone from the age of around twelve thanks to the fresh, non-nonsense style. […] Away is full of fine pinpricks, which elevate the book to a higher literary plane. It is readable but also multilayered.’ – literatuurplein.nl
‘The story has depth, and strong subject matter, but above all it is the strong characters and Jowi Schmitz’s compelling writing style that make Gone a good book.’ – boekenbijlage.nl