Sophie Beer

Captivating, memorable and deeply funny, Thunderhead is a heart-squeezing and hopeful middle fiction illustrated novel about the awkwardness of early teen life and the challenge of living with illness and loss – beautifully told with humour, music, art and joy.

Hellooooooooooooo. Can anyone hear me? No?
GOOD. That’s the way I want it. I’m not writing this for anyone else but me.
Here I am, shouting into the abyss. Well, typing into the abyss. The abyss of the internet.

Thunderhead is an anxious, music-obsessed kid blurting their angst into a defunct internet forum to avoid the squirmy awkwardness of real life. A real life where Thunderhead is hiding a big secret – a secret that if revealed will brand them with the dreaded stigma of being the Poor Widdle Sick Kid (PWSK). And nobody wants that. NOTHANKYOUVERYMUCH.

As two big life events approach, Thunderhead posts playlists and heartfelt diary entries as an outlet to try to make sense of their changing world, to try to manage the storm brewing in their brain and to find the courage to unfurl their heart a little to gain a lot.

Drawing on her own experiences of having a brain tumour and undergoing hearing loss, Sophie Beer delivers an indelible debut illustrated middle grade novel about music, disability, friendship and fandom that is immediately engaging, utterly authentic and entirely unputdownable.

Middle Grade Illustrated Fiction

Sophie Beer

Sophie Beer is an award-winning author/illustrator living in Brisbane, Australia. She rejoices in creating bright, funny books that centre equality, inclusion and kindness. Her books have been printed all over the world in many languages and have sold close to one million copies. She has also worked with the likes of Disney, Google, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, Frankie Magazine and The Big Issue. When she’s not illustrating and writing, she thinks a lot about plants, animals, music, books, equality, and Aldi choc-chip biscuits. In 2016, Sophie was diagnosed with and underwent surgery for an acoustic neuroma, a brain tumour that affects balance, the facial nerve and hearing, and she is subsequently half deaf. Thunderhead, her first novel, was inspired by this transformative event.

Allen & Unwin

Allen & Unwin is Australia’s leading independent publisher and is the 2023 Publisher of the Year, a title we’ve now held fifteen times. Our lists are unrivalled in scope and quality, our focus on original ideas and voices, and our acclaimed authors and titles amongst Australia’s best.