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The Sheffield Children’s Book Awards, 2016

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9780349002743

Price: £7.99

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Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick; he’s become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he’s hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart. When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to turn capture it. Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he’ll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?

Panther is a bold and emotionally powerful novel that deals candidly with the effects of depression on those who suffer from it, and those who suffer alongside them.


David Owen's Panther is an extraordinary and gripping examination of the impact of depression on a whole family. One of the most impressive things about this textured and sensitive debut novel is that it takes us inside the world of the kind of character rarely seen in teen or adult fiction.
the Herald
Tender, yet packing a sucker punch ... A timely book that looks at how mental health can affect the whole family
Independent, 10 Best young adult fiction
In his powerful, gripping debut Panther, he announces himself with a bang. . . The author's focus on his subject matter is similarly all-encompassing and remarkable in its uncompromising approach. . . YA is in great hands with Owen and I expect not only that he will be an author to watch but that Panther will be a title to watch this year.
We Love This Book
Owen writes an emotional story which focuses on the impact of teen depression on the rest of the family.
Profoundly unsettling, but also profoundly powerful. Owen's focus on the sibling affected by depression at second-hand, rather than the primary sufferer, is a courageous decision.
At a time when the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service is under strain and in desperate need for government funding, David Owen's debut novel, Panther, is a timely YA novel. Panther is a powerful and unsentimental look at depression for youngsters ... the issue of mental health is dealt with in a candid and deft way.
Good lord but Panther is a powerful story. Mental health is a big subject to tackle and David Owen has waded right into it with admirable fearlessness. . . Panther is incredibly moving but it isn't at all sentimental. And, at time when we are only just beginning to understand the costs of failing mental health, particularly on the young, we need these illuminating stories.
Mental health is a difficult subject to discuss, but we think David Owen handles it brilliantly in Panther. While there are a few YA books that discuss the topic of depression, this stands out as one of the best.
WHSmith blog
Deeply relevant & powerful insight into the world of a teenage boy
Virginia Macgregor, author of What Milo Saw