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Looking for JJ [Paperback]

Anne Cassidy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Feb 2005
A gripping and emotionally searing novel from a talented author, Looking for JJ explores the circumstances and motives behind the murder of a child - by her friend. Six years later, JJ has now been released, and has a new identity. But is there any way that she can lead a "normal" life?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Point; 1 edition (18 Feb 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439977177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439977173
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 227,069 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
By Sunfish
Ignore what everyone's saying: this book isn't a murder mystery. It's the story of Alice Tully, seventeen years old, outwardly normal but a mess inside. Alice is deeply disturbed and insecure. At the age of ten, Alice murdered another child and was imprisoned. Newly released, she's trying to forget the incident, start a new life and cast off her old baggage. Somehow she can't get rid of her past trauma.
In the book, we follow Alice through a short period of her life: she's working in a coffee shop, living with a carer/social worker and trying to avoid the press.
The novel is interspersed with chilling vignettes from Alice's childhood. We see her neglected as a little girl, her depressed mother working sporadically as a model. We see her packed off to live with Gran, to live in a care-home, until finally Mum turns up and takes her away. We see her mother sinking lower and lower, and the child's tension building up and up - until the intense climax.
This is a fine novel that questions our habit of labelling people. As a killer, Alice is labelled EVIL and UNREACHABLE. The author shows that she's not evil, not unreachable: just deeply miserable and confused. The labels only serve to alienate Alice.
This novel made me resolve to take care of the children I might have, and never to neglect them. As Ms Cassidy so wisely points out, neglect in all its forms can be worse than any abuse.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, harsh, tender, daring novel 1 Sep 2004
Every now and again something quite extraordinary is written that sweeps away any doubts you may have. This is the story about a child who, aged 10, killed another child, an appalling crime, and yet the child is not a monster. The plain, unadorned style is perfectly suited to the subject matter; the subject matter is handled so dexterously that you do not fear to read it, especially the crime itself, which is important. But most of all this is a masterly exercise in organisation and structure of material. There are a thousand ways this book could have been written badly and so ruined. Anne Cassidy avoids them all. I gave this book to my daughter, aged 15, when I finished. She hasn't been reading a lot lately, and she didn't read this: she DEVOURED it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel for young adults 12 April 2007
Looking for JJ is an excellent novel for young adults. It tell Alice Tully's story as she settles into life after being released from prison. She has been given a new identity and hopes to start a new life. At the start of the book this seems possible; she has a place at university and a loving, if slightly possessive, boyfriend, but things will never be easy for Alice Tully. In a series of flashbacks her crime is revealed - when she was only ten she murdered her best friend.

In this novel Anne Cassidy examines several themes. The friendship between the young girls is shown to be a battleground, with a power struggle at the centre. The different sets of parents show how selfish some parents can be, and what effect this can have. The media treatment of Alice show us just how vindictive they are, how they stop at nothing to get their story. The characterisation of the girls when they are young is excellent as is Alice's Mum; however her social work seems like a bit of a stereotype.

However, I feel the main theme 'children killing children' is skimmed over, probably because there is so little evidence to go on or maybe because it is too horrific to think about, never mind write about. Having read this novel I did some research into child killers on the internet and it is a very disturbing topic, it is too easy to write these people of as freaks of nature, but they were all ordinary kids at one point and they have to live with the crimes they have commited.

Overall, a good, thought-provoking novel.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read for young teens 23 July 2006
By Mrs. C.
I found 'Looking for JJ' a very thoughtful, well-written book. It explores current issues in society, and shows how children, who are not appreciated and cared for can become devastatingly lost. I have recommended this book to both students (young teens who are mature and good readers) and adults. They have all also immensely enjoyed it. This is a great piece of Teen Fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Subject Nicely Handled. 27 Feb 2014
By Pigwin
"Three children walked away from the edge of town one day - but only two of them came back..." As an opening to the blurb this sentence captures the would-be readers attention.

The British press is looking for Jennifer Jones since news of the child killer's release has been announced although, in fact Jennifer had been released six months prior to the announcement. Alice Tully is apparently a normal sixteen year-old but along with all the usual teenage problems, Jennifer has a terrible dark secret hidden in her past; a crime so horrendous she must keep hidden at all costs; Alice Tully is Jennifer Jones.

Anne Cassidy writes with a fluidity that enables her to switch back and forth between Jennifer's life before her crime and to her life as Alice in the present. She treats a chilling and frightening subject i.e., what leads one child to kill another, with empathy and restraint. The reader has the advantage of seeing things through Jennifer's eyes and getting to know the girl and her home circumstances prior to the crime she commits. It is also to Cassidy's credit that she did not dwell overly on the actual murder or make the crime incredibly violent or cruel. There was one subtle twist that aggravated the victim's (Michelle) death and would make her loss even harder for her parents to bear, if that were indeed possible; this factor would also augment Jennifer's guilt.

The author also creates characters that are, for the most part, likeable and for whom the reader may come to care. Given the subject matter this is quite a feat.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood destroyed
A child dies and another child is accused and found guilty of the murder. Slightly difficult read as another child killing by children fresh in ones mind made the subject matter... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tornado1
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional read.
This really isn’t an easy book to review. Coming to it from the perspective of a parent, I found my insides churning as I read it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Serendipity Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Looking for JJ
this has such a good ending! yet another fabulous, hooking murder related book from the amazing author Anne Cassidy! LOVE!
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I love this book, it will stay with you for ever. The book makes you think about life, and know that we are very lucky
Published 5 months ago by miss d roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I really enjoyed this book it has been a pleasure to read it is one of the only books that has made me connect with it so much that I have cried
Although I feel that i it... Read more
Published 9 months ago by anita Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING
Published 9 months ago by PHOEBE
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!!!
I remember reading this book when I was a lot younger about 7 years ago I think. Reading it again as like a breath if fresh air. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mohima
5.0 out of 5 stars READ THIS BOOK !!!
I read this book in yr 7 after my primary school years were made up of reading Jacqueline Wilson. This book was fantastic. It's relevant, mature and a very interesting read. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Voke :D
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking for JJ
My daughter loves this book, I gave it to her for Christmas along with a few other of Anne Cassidys book, but she loved this one the most. She and I would recommend it to anyone!
Published 15 months ago by Po
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!
I absolutely love this book, it is definately one of my favourites. I read it last year at school and as a 13 year old i adored it. Read more
Published 17 months ago by megan l
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