Ness had not met the late author, Siobhan Dowd, who died of breast cancer, when he decided to write a book loosely based around her.
The exceptional story that followed knits together a fabular tale of dreams, nightmares and monsters, with serious illness and how a young mind deal with death. It is no surprise that it won five national prizes and has been read by so many.
This is children's writing at its best: it appeals to the child in all of us, yet it asks profound questions and takes us to emotional depths. A very grown-up children's book.