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Forbidden Child

(32 reviews)

Gwen Newell

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$16.00 $7.99/mo

"I belong to the Godmother."

Piper Pascal has spent her life on the Escape, a city-sized cruise liner holding all that's left of America. She does not remember the world before the Flood. All she knows is that she'll do anything to please the Godmother, the head of the Escape, the only parent Piper has ever really had.

"I will report all crime, my own and my neighbor's."

Since age six, Piper has been a spy for the Godmother's cult of secret police. Food, friendships, sleep, population---the Godmother controls it all. If you disobey, Piper will catch you.

"No illegal organisms."

Until one dayPiper Pascal finds the one thing the Godmother hates most. A baby. A child born without permission.

If Piper cares for the child, she will be hunted. Arrested. Killed. But against everything the Godmother has told her, Piper begins to realize she cannot let the baby go.

 Look Inside the Book

Forbidden Child is Gwen Newell's debut novel, a masterful story of love lighting the way out of darkness.

 From the book:

"Piper looked down at the water lapping beneath the cabin, and for a full minute, she wondered what she was staring at.

Maria Carmel's spindle-thin body lay face down in a bright yellow life raft that was punctured with bullet holes and slowly sinking. That much was obvious. The rope of red bedsheets dangled down the ship's side and was tied to one of the raft handles, so the Escape had been towing the raft and the dead body for hours. But nestled under Maria's arm was a strange white bundle that could have been mattress stuffing, or a pillowcase filled with clothes, or a chunk of ice that had been swept into the raft. Piper could not think what on earth it really was.

With a jolt she realized the truth. She was looking at the most shocking, the most deadly the most illegal thing she had ever seen.

Piper was looking at a baby."


Canonball Books is the children's imprint of Canon Press. At Canonball, we believe stories are soul food, so you can expect excitement, danger, loyalty, virtue, and family in your Canonball books. Feed your kids the right books!

Gwen Newell was born in Germany, raised in Florida, and transplanted to the Pacific Northwest where she pretends she's still by the ocean as much as she can. She wrote her first story at age seven, and hasn't stopped writing since. She now lives with her husband, Ben, in a wee house on a hill where they await the birth of their first child.

IMPRINT: Canonball Books

GENRE: Middle Grade (Grades 4-9)

AUTHOR: Gwen Newell


SIZE: 5.5x8.5"

HARDBACK ISBN-10: 1-95-790585-9

HARDBACK ISBN-13: 978-1-957905-85-3

BINDING: Hardback

PUB. DATE: October 24, 2023

Customer Reviews

Based on 32 reviews
Dulcimer Brubaker
Compelling, energetic, truthful

I listened to the audiobook on Canon+ and I'm keeping the physical book pages fresh for my daughter (it's a Christmas gift). This is an energetic, earnest, and deeply researched book set in a dystopian future that begs the reader to see the true value of human life. It was a page turner for sure, but it also wasn't without literary beauty or characterization. I was very impressed by Newell's first published book and hope to read more in the future.

Bianca Thompson

Forbidden Child

Grant Brown
Couldn't Put It Down!

If this is Gwen's first novel, then sign me up for all the ones to come after! Excellent. Gripping. Engaging. And full of truth.

Jana Brown
Highly Recommend!

My 13yo daughter and I have both already finished this book, and the 11yo is starting it tonight. Gripping, fast-paced story with an unpredictable ending! The author does a great job of helping you feel the stress that Piper feels!

Inglett, Anne
A great book!

I throughly enjoyed the book. It’s very well written and keeps the reader engaged and interested.

Annaliese Dollahite

I devoured this book in one sitting, taking four hours! It was so great! It reminded me of The Giver, but it definitely has its own story, voice, and characters. I cannot stop recommending it everywhere I go. I laughed out loud, bit my fingernails to pieces, and almost cried (once). The ending left me stunned and so happy. I hope to find more books as wonderful as this one. Thank you, Gwen Newel and Canon Press!

Hannah Carrington
Spellbounding read

Wow. This book was so good — I couldn’t put it down! It was a very inspiring book to stand for what God says is right, good, beautiful, and true, no matter the cost — even if it means death.