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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: 165,838 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
5.0 out of 5 stars An emotional read. 28 Feb 2014
By Serendipity Reviews TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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. This has to be one of every parent’s nightmares and when this book was originally published it would have been something that played heavily on every parent’s mind after the Soham murders. I know that this book is a completely different style of murder, but it still makes you feel uneasy reading it.

To be fair, I think Anne Cassidy has handled a very delicate topic extremely well and with great sensitivity and I can see why the book was so popular. The author has managed to gain your sympathy for Jennifer Jones. You realise she was just a child and the situation her mother had put her in, tipped her over the edge. She needed help early on and it seemed as though the justice system had lost sight of her needs. She was a boiling kettle about to overflow, yet no one picked up on it.

You felt sympathy for the adult, Jennifer Jones, she was full to the brim of self loathing, just waiting to be discovered. Every day was a waiting game for her and she struggled to live a normal life. Whether people felt she was entitled to a normal life, is a difficult question to answer, as emotions tend to be at their rawest when a child is hurt.

I liked the way the book is set out into three parts, so you get a sense of the past, present and future. I am curious to what happens to Jennifer after this book finishes, and will shortly be reading the recent sequel, Finding Jennifer Jones, because in my mind, I cannot see how a character like this can ever find peace and lay to rest the past. It must be something that wakes you up in the morning, and greets you as you lay down to sleep.
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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
3.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Subject Nicely Handled.
"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... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Pigwin
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 12 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 18 months ago by megan l
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