Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency
Constable & Robinson
Publication date
May 7, 2015


Author: David Owen

Life isn’t going terribly well for Derrick; he’s become severely overweight, his only friend has turned on him, he’s hopelessly in love with a girl way out of his league, and it’s all because of his sister. Her depression, and its grip on his family, is tearing his life apart. When rumours start to circulate that a panther is roaming wild in his south London suburb, Derrick resolves to turn capture it. Surely if he can find a way to tame this beast, he’ll be able to stop everything at home from spiraling towards disaster?

Panther is a bold and emotionally powerful novel that deals candidly with the effects of depression on those who suffer from it, and those who suffer alongside them.

"Having a bipolar diagnosis myself, this book “found me where I live”; I found it profoundly unsettling, but also profoundly powerful. Owen’s focus on the sibling affected by depression at second-hand, rather than the primary sufferer, is a courageous decision... It adds valuably to our store of knowledge to show “malignant sadness” rippling outwards, touching other lives." Guardian Books Blog - Imogen Russell Williams
"Like the best stories aimed at younger audiences, Owen’s tale acknowledges that growing up is a nasty business and that the world of adults is barely understood even by them, but it’s the revelation here that pain is part of life, like it or not, that is most memorable. And it’s impossible not to like our young hero, no matter how strange, self-destructive and embarrassing his behaviour becomes.’ The Clothesline, Dave Bradley
"This powerful story for teenagers pulls no punches in its realistic exploration of the dark terrors of depression, for which The Beast, the panther of the title, is a brilliant allegory… Strong character development and a powerful narrative are features which mark this novel out as special. The author tackles a difficult subject head on, and doesn’t shirk its darker corners. With strong character development and a taut, powerful narrative, this is a fine story that thoughtful older readers will value highly." School Librarian, Steve Hird
"Not for the faint-hearted, this powerful debut investigates the effect of depression on sufferers’ families, pulling no punches as it does so. An unsettling, difficult, profoundly important novel." Teens on Moon Lane Summer Round-Up, Imogen Russell-Williams
"David Owen's Panther is an extraordinary and gripping examination of the impact of depression on a whole family. One of the most impressive things about this textured and sensitive debut novel is that it takes us inside the world of the kind of character rarely seen in teen or adult fiction." The Herald
"Panther is a powerful and unsentimental look at depression for youngsters. . . the issue of mental health is dealt with in a candid and deft way." Telegraph Online, Best YA Books of 2015
"An incredibly visceral read, Panther is a brilliant debut. Tackling difficult issues in a book whilst also letting the story shine through is not an easy task, but one which is certainly achieved in Panther." Yellow Highway Lines
"As a book dealing with mental health issues within a family, I think Panther, by David Owen, is a must-read. Panther offers a unique insight into issues of depression, control and blame." It Takes a Woman
"‘Rich with allegorical imagery that will stay with the reader long after they’ve finished, Panther is a novel that should find itself at the top of any school’s required reading list as well as onto many adults’ ereaders. Powerful, moving, and emotional, Derrick’s is a story that will resonate for many, hopefully for a very long time." If These Books Could Talk
"We definitely need more authors like David Owen . . . this is a read that I would recommend to all." Chouett
"I loved it, it moved me, it made my head hurt. It is beautiful, and read and quite wonderful. David Owen is clever. His story is clever and his use of the Panther is very very clever. . . You may feel a little emotionally battered by it, but you will feel a sense of awe. It really is that good." Random Things Through My Letterbox
"Blend a compelling story with engaging characters and a fantastic voice, and you’ve got a recipe for a truly unique and memorable read." Writing From The Tub
"I like the way David deals so bravely with the impact depression has on this family we see just how it affects them" AJ Book Review Club
"It’s a very moving and powerful story about depression and suicide and the ways in which these things have an effect on those around us." Fluttering Butterflies
"Every once in a while you come across a book that takes you by surprise. A sucker punch to the heart. Deceptively simple but astonishingly powerful. All you can do is grip the book and let the tide of raw emotions wash over you. Panther brilliantly captures the struggle that people when grappling for control when everything else is madness. Owen's compelling writing depicts the chaos of depression and the fragile balance between hope and hopelessness in an authentic manner." Nuz Says It With A Book
"A raw, powerful read… You feel the struggles of Derrick and his family and as a reader you feel so many emotions! It is truthful and honest and does not gloss over any aspect of depression and that’s what makes this book so very special and important... Panther is and will be one of my top ten books of 2015 and has left its mark on me long after finishing it!" Tales of Yesterday
"An intense read, one which I won't forget." Nayu's Reading Corner
"So reading this book I loved it and I hated it. It made me angry and it made cry and wail and gnash my teeth. And, what more serious an accolades can I award a novel? It was able to move me, to make me think, and care, and question, and feel." Sable Caught
"In his powerful, gripping debut, Panther, he announces himself with a bang... Owen does nothing by half measures in this impressive debut. He really evokes the oppressiveness that hangs over Derrick and his family so that reading the book is very much like being sucked into their world... YA is in great hands with Owen and I expect not only that he will be an author to watch but that Panther will be a title to watch this year." We Love This Book
"A very impressive YA debut with a pretty dark heart." A Case For Books
"As a character, Derrick is easy to like and the reader really wants him to tame the elusive panther so he can have his richly deserved happy-ever-after." Tania Findlay, The Sun
"Panther is incredibly moving but it isn't at all sentimental. And, at a time when we are only just beginning to understand the costs of failing mental health, particularly on the young, we need these illuminating stories." Jill Murphy, The Book Bag
"It will stay with you for a long time after you have finished it." Pam, Goodreads Review
"Thoughtful, brilliantly paced and gripping until the very last page." Nigel, Goodreads Review
"Derrick is an endearing, funny and flawed character who will no doubt appeal to the vulnerable adolescent inside of you." Hannah, Goodreads Review
"I frankly applaud David Owen for tackling such a huge subject with a relatively young readership." T*Rexes and Tiaras
"A beautiful story with a hint of darkness." Wren Lee, Welcome to Book City