Live Like Your Head’s On Fire

(8 customer reviews)


The brilliant debut novel by Sally-Anne Lomas

When fifteen year-old Pen Flowers climbs out of her bedroom window in the middle of the night to dance in the empty streets, she ignites a flame in herself that will change everything


See our campaign to get people dancing with Pen here.



‘A gripping story, full of honesty, energy, heartache and joy. I love this book. Sally-Anne Lomas is a new and powerful writer.’

Yvvette Edwards, MAN Booker Prize Longlisted author of A Cupboard Full of Coats and The Mother

‘An exhilarating, funny, heartwarming debut that will inspire you to follow your dreams.’

C. J. Flood, author of Infinite Sky and Nightwanderers
Written with buoyancy and wit, with a turn of phrase that had me chuckling and snorting with laughter, Live Like Your Head’s on Fire is a wonderful coming-of-age novel about discovering and following your dreams. Pen’s journey from schoolgirl to dancer is full of comedy, pain, embarrassment, longing and passion but what Lomas captures so well are the uncertainties and shifting friendships of adolescence. And in Pen’s new friends, the vulnerable but dangerous Melody and the irrepressible optimist Vivienne, Lomas has created two real-as-life characters whom you can’t help but warm to. This is a moving, satisfying debut.
Richard Lambert, poet, novelist, and author of The Wolf Road

Brought to Life

‘Whatever feels special, whatever burns inside, that’s what you have to be true to.
Flame on. Let’s get blazing.
Live like your head’s on fire.’

See our campaign to get people dancing with Pen here.

See our workshops exploring movement and writing in support of Live Like Your Head’s On Fire here.

About the author

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Sally-Anne Lomas lives in Norfolk and has worked as a television producer and director for most of her life. This is her debut novel.
ISBN: 9781912665037
Length: 416 pp
Format: Paperback Original
First published: 1st March 2021 by Story Machine Books and Gatehouse Press.

Additional information

Weight 0.45 kg
Dimensions 13 × 3 × 20 cm
UK 2nd Class Royal Mail Postage


UK 1st Class Royal Mail Postage


International Airmail


Local NR3 Delivery


8 reviews for Live Like Your Head’s On Fire

  1. johnny fincham

    An excitiing and uplifting read. Hugely enjoyable for young adults and anyone in for a good coming-of-age novel.

  2. Zara Hunter

    I loved this book! It was exciting and uplifting, and made my heart race in parts! A very strong YA debut.

  3. Mia Sharrock

    I would 100% recommend this book to any young adult (and beyond!). It has wonderful characters, a compelling plot that stays with you, and a fire at its heart. I hope that there’s a sequel coming out soon because I really want to know what happens for Pen next!

  4. Robin

    I have just read Live Like Your Head’s On Fire and even though I am male and old, the way I find myself relating to the feelings Pen Flowers goes through during this book is remarkable. It returns me to my youth. Feelings of just wanting to let go never leave us we are just better at suppressing them. I hope everyone who reads this book enjoys it as much as I did.

  5. Liz Jolly

    This book is full of energy and passion, just like it’s heroine, Pen.
    Lomas captures the pushes and pulls, challenges and contradictions of starting to grow into yourself.
    A beautifully crafted and vivid page turner … Go Pen!

  6. Sara Willett

    A terrific debut novel, that fizzes and pops with the energy of youth. A story of dreams and friendship – the writing is warm and witty, but never shies away from the more painful aspects of adolescence. There are many laugh out loud moments, however I was also deeply moved and ultimately found myself cheering for Pen Flowers and her indomitable spirit

  7. Mary Muir

    A passionate coming of age debut novel that explores themes of love, loss, family, friendship, identity, and the transformative power of creativity.

  8. Eleanor Langan

    “Like your Head’s on Fire” is a compelling read. I could not put it down. I think it will appeal to teenagers, but I would also recommend it to adults who wish to understand the complex lives of young adults. The central characters come from different backgrounds and are not perfect., but by the end I cared deeply about them. There is some gritty realism in the plot , but there is also joy and hope. I look forward to Sally -Anne Lomas’ next novel.

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  • Live Like Your Head’s On Fire – BOOK LAUNCH

    Tuesday 2nd March, 2021
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