The Blue Book of Nebo


By Manon Steffan Ros | Cover design by Becka Moor
Published 6th January 2022 | ISBN 9781913102784

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Dylan was six when The End came, back in 2018; when the electricity went off for good, and the ‘normal’ 21st-century world he knew disappeared. Now he’s 14 and he and his mam have survived in their isolated hilltop house above the village of Nebo in north-west Wales, learning new skills, and returning to old ways of living. Despite their close understanding, the relationship between mother and son changes subtly as Dylan must take on adult responsibilities. And they each have their own secrets, which emerge as, in turn, they jot down their thoughts and memories win a found notebook – the Blue Book of Nebo.


Praise for the book

‘A tender, tragic post-apocalyptic story, told with great simplicity and power.’ The Guardian

‘A thoroughly thought-provoking and enjoyable read, the folklore elements combine to provide a rich tale that’s perfect for both YA and adult readers.’ Buzz Magazine

‘This is a gentle, yet powerful read about how we live and what we pay attention to.’ Irish Times

‘A spare and intimate story of a family surviving a near-future global apocalypse .. In a time rife with and ripe for stories of the end, this one stands out.’  Publishers Weekly

‘A curiously sweet-tempered novel that finds the upside of global catastrophe.’ Kirkus Review

‘An uplifting and thoroughly heart-warming take on the post-apocalyptic novel, this has all the markers of a modern classic.’ – Lauren James

‘An unforgettable story about survival – the survival of a language, a culture, and all of humanity.’ – Francesca Rhydderch

‘As insightful as it is honest.’ – Mat Tobin

‘Simply wonderful. Beautifully conceived, written and observed. A story infused with warning and sober hope.’ – Nicola Davies

‘Captivating. Raw. Memorable. Heartwarming.’ Jo Bowers

‘This is storytelling at its most lean, at its fittest, at its very best.’ Gary Raymond

‘A profound and deeply affecting novella.’ Simon Fisher

‘I loved the fragile tender heart of this story.’ Zillah Bethell

3 reviews for The Blue Book of Nebo

  1. Wyn Lewis

    A post-apocalyptic novel set in the year 2026, “The Blue Book of Nebo” tells the story of Dylan, his mother, Rowenna, and baby Mona who eke out a living in the isolated village of Nebo in north-west Wales, learning new skills, and returning to the old ways of living. They are surviving in the aftermath of a catastrophe that Rowenna names “The End”, when the electricity went off for good following a nuclear war, and life changed forever. Despite the close relationship between them, the mother/son dynamic changes as Dylan must look after the family unit. Both of them have secrets, and these secrets are revealed as they record their thoughts and memories in a found notebook – the Blue Book of Nebo. Dylan writes about “now” and his mother writes about the “olden days and The End”. They agree not to read what the other writes…”in case”, but Dylan doesn’t know what that means.
    Dylan is too young to fully remember the time before and just after The End and things like computers and mobile phones which his mother took for granted; he measures distances in “steps” as this is a measurement directly related to his daily experience of getting from A to B. Dylan’s “voice” is simple and unfussy, strongly evoking a life of hardship and necessity. But he is intelligent, resourceful and mature beyond his years, and he eventually realises that he “fits” into this new life.
    Rowena’s sections speak of the breakdown of society and panic buying in supermarkets, which resonates strongly with our current times. Rowenna is remarkably resourceful when The End comes, but she is permanently affected by it; she has been hardened and her sections are quite heartbreaking to read as we learn the truth about what happened to her after The End.
    Translated from the original Welsh-language edition, which was awarded Welsh Book of the Year in 2019, this book resonates with me as a native of that country, and many Welsh books are mentioned in the story; there is also a subtext about the loss of the Welsh language. Dylan loves to read and books are almost like characters in this story. The writing throughout is spare, concise and affecting. This is described as a YA novel, but the story transcends that rather restrictive tag by being quite harrowing in parts, and can be enjoyed by an older audience. Terrific and memorable in any language, with a profound ending, “The Blue Book of Nebo” is an absolute triumph.

  2. Danielle Hennessy

    The cover looks so peaceful. A quaint little house, above the Welsh town of Nebo. A place to escape the humdrum of daily modern life. And, in some way, that is true however it’s not because the owner seeks solitude, but because The End happened and now, the occupants must navigate their way through this new post-apocalyptic world, alone?

    Never fully understanding what The End actually was and how it truly happened, Rowenna, her 14-year-old son, Dylan & 2-year-old daughter, Mona must now live a life that no longer involves electricity, smartphones, or any of the advances that the current modern-day world affords us.
    Forced to “steal” from abandoned houses & shops, Rowenna & Dylan have spent the last 8 years building a self-sufficient home complete with polytunnels and even conservatories for their crops. They lead a simple life, seemingly content, fully embracing the freedom of not being chained to technology.
    On the surface, they have a loving mother-son relationship, but everyone has their secrets and these 2 are no different. Finding a blue book, they both begin a journey of writing about The End from their perspectives. Each agreeing to never read what the other has written.

    This started a little slow for me, and that might be because I don’t read dystopian novels often, but once I got into it, I liked how different they both saw the world, their true feelings about each other, and the questions they wished could be answered.
    Dylan, being 14 has a sweet innocence about him that develops beautifully, growing into a strong, independent young man.
    Rowenna can be distant and somewhat cold, but once she begins writing in the blue book, you connect with her, understand her more and the motives behind what drives her.

    The wave of emotions I went through was a complete surprise to me. In one chapter I had tears blurring my vision from the first 4 words.
    There are unexpected revelations along with many touching moments showing that even in the bleakest of times, humanity is still something to believe in.

    I am so grateful I got to read this. And even though it was slow to start, it’s a book I will definitely buy and read again.

    Not being Welsh, I do wish there was a mini pronunciation guide, but it doesn’t detract from the story.

    Thank you, NetGalley and the publishers for giving me an ARC ebook in return for an honest review.

  3. MrsD271015

    I received an early digital copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    The Blue Book of Nebo – this book has been on my radar for some time. When I was learning Welsh a few years ago I was intrigued by the original Welsh book but never quite felt confident enough to read it.
    When I discovered the English adaptation I knew that I had to read it.

    I was not disappointed – told as a dual narrative through the voices of Dylan and his mother The Blue Book of Nebo explores their lives and relationship with each other after The End has come.

    Full of big questions and emotion this book makes the reader think long and hard as you question what are society really is and how things can change in an instant.

    A book that should be read not just by young adults but those of us who are maybe a little bit older as well.

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