1 2

Forbidden Child

(41 reviews)

Gwen Newell

Subscribe to stream it on Canon+

$16.99 11.99/mo
Book details

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

"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

"In this debut novel, Newell offers an engaging dystopian read with a strong message of love leading the way out of darkness." ~WORLD Magazine

 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!

Customer Reviews

Based on 41 reviews

I am a big fan of The Giver by Lois Lowry. This was to me an improvement on that genre. It was a simple story but had its own twists and turns. I couldn’t “put it down” (I listened to the audio book) and purchased the physical book for my sister-in-law for Christmas.

Paula Q.
Couldn’t put it down…..

I purchased this book for my daughter. She said, “Mom, it was like I was living in the book myself and part of the story. The way the author wrote brought me right in. I couldn’t put it down.” I look forward to reading it myself!

Carol C.
Forbidden Child

I enjoyed this book. I thought the characters were well developed. When I got to the end of the story I wanted more. Will Gwen Newell continue the story? I will wait in hopeful anticipation :-) Thanks

Shay G.J.

Forbidden Child

Erin S.
ForBidden Child

This book was SOOOO good! Loved it and now my 13 year old son is reading it and enjoying it!

Jenny S.
Great read!

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful debut novel!

Eric R.
Great Read

Enjoyed reading this and discussing with my pre-teen girls. They could hardly put it down. Lots of great themes and discussion starters here.

Dulcimer B.
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 T.

Forbidden Child

Grant B.
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.

All of Christ for All of Life

Books to live the Christian life out your fingertips, deal with sin, and feed your Christian imagination.