Jacqueline Wilson's magical talent for writing novels for children of all ages that can brighten, sadden and enlighten all at the same time is legendary. Midnight
is a shining example of that gift and is an unforgettable story about friendship, adoration and sibling worship. Wilson's subjects are always close at heart, her characters lovably flawed, but her endings are reassuringly uplifting.
It is the arrival of the intoxicatingly popular Jasmine, the daughter of a famous actor, at Violet's school that has impacted most on her life of late. Forever in the spell of her controlling and mesmerising older brother Will, Violet needs something to change for her. Will has discovered a shocking secret about his past that is making his behaviour even more strange and dangerous. His dreaded games of Truth or Dare often leave Violet's nerves in tatters. Will is distant, but Jasmine seems genuinely interested in her and her love of fairies. They even both like Casper Dream--the author of several popular fairy novels.
But Violet can't keep Jasmine away from her house forever and when Will and Jasmine get together and apparently exclude Violet--she can think of only one person who can help her... so she sets off by herself to find her favourite author.
Wilson's characters are no doubt agonisingly created, but seem effortlessly real and engaging--no wonder they've been adored by over 10-million readers since she first began writing for taunted teens and younger readers. Midnight is perhaps a slightly more subtle novel than is usual, tackling lots of different, overlapping themes at once and even touching on her own life--as demonstrated by the influence of the writer in the story, Casper Dream. This is another winning read. (Recommended for ages 10 and over.) --John McLay
"* 'A brilliant young writer of wit and subtlety' THE TIMES * 'Hugely popular with seven to ten year olds: she should be prescribed for all cases of reading reluctance' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY * 'Has a rare gift for writing lightly and amusingly about emotional issues' BOOKSELLER