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The Positively Last Performance

The Positively Last Performance [Kindle Edition]

Geraldine McCaughrean
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Everybody should read Geraldine McCaughrean'--Philip Reeve

'Yet another outstanding novel from the remarkably talented Geraldine McCaughrean . . . a beautifully crafted piece with an endearing cast of characters, with not a word wasted'--Marilyn Brocklehurst, The Bookseller

Product Description

The performances at The Royal Theatre are extraordinary. You'd have to see them to believe them! But that's the problem. Nobody can see them. Except Gracie, that is. Gracie's new to this seaside town, but she's making friends quickly. There's Mikey the Mod who wears a parka and drives a scooter, Miss Melluish whose skirt is missing, and Frank Stuart, the builder of elephants. But the old theatre is under threat. Will Gracie and the residents be able to save their home, or is the curtain set to fall on their very last performance?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1414 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0192733206
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (23 Jan 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,027 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

It's 35 years now since I first got published, and 50 since I found out how writing let me step outside my little, everyday world and go wherever I chose - way back in Time, to far distant shores, towards my own, home-made happy ending. Not that all my books are an easy ride. I write adventure, first and foremost, because that's what I enjoyed reading as a child. But since I have published over 160 books now, there are all manner of books in among that number - gorgeously illustrated picture books, easy readers, prize winners, teenage books and five adult novels.
The White Darkness won the Printz Award in the USA, which, for as Englishwoman, was the most amazing, startling thrill.
Then there was Peter Pan in Scarlet - official sequel to J M Barrie's Peter Pan, written on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. I won the chance to write that in a worldwide competition, and because Peter Pan is loved everywhere, my book sold worldwide too. I can't say I expected that when, as a child, I dreamed of being like my older brother and getting a book published one day.
These days I have a husband (good at continuity and spelling) and a daughter who is an excellent editor. But she's an actor. So, naturally, I have turned my hand to writing plays. (So many actors, so few plays!)
My Mum told me, "Never boil your cabbages twice, dear," which was her way of saying, "Don't repeat yourself." So I have tried never to write the same book twice. You'll find all my novels quite different from one another. The only way you can find out which ones you like and which you don't is to read them, I'm afraid.
I have also done lots of retellings of myth, legend, folk and fairy tales, and adapted indigestible classics such as El Cid, the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Odyssey, Moby Dick, Shakespeare and the Pilgrim's Progress.
Something for everyone, you see, my dear young, not-so-young, eccentric, middle-of-the-road, poetical, sad, cheerful, timid or reckless reader.
All they have in common is that they all contain words. If you are allergic to words, you'd best not open the covers.

Geraldine McCaughrean has written 167 books and plays for both adults and children. The books include Peter Pan in Scarlet, one of the most talked about and successful children's titles of 2006.

Geraldine McCaughrean has won the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Children's Book Award (three times), the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Smarties Bronze Award (four times), the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award and the Blue Peter Special Book to Keep Forever Award. She has also had more titles short-listed (six, including one winner and one Highly Commended) for the Carnegie Medal, than any other author, the latest being The Death Defying Pepper Roux.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A ghost story with a twist 23 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this book the twist took me completely by surprise. I'm not sure it is suitable for 8+ possibly Year 7 or 8.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Encore! 10 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Absolutely terrific piece of story telling.Beautifully written,totally engaging from start to finish.For kids of all ages from 9 to 99!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book 12 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Brilliantly written - very moving and made us laugh out loud often. Read it with my children and we all loved it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Geraldine's latest is as enchanting as always ! 9 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
But then i'm one of her greatest fans and an old friend too !
Thanks Geraldine you made my day - i read it to bed one evening and woke up and finished it - simply delightful romp !
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not up to her usual standards 31 Mar 2013
By Cary Watson - Published on
If the writing game was anything like kung fu films, Geraldine McCraughrean would be the serene, peaceful-looking elder with long white hair who mops the floor with legions of cocky writers who think that no one who uses YA-style kung fu could possibly defeat their literary fiction-style kung fu. McCaughrean, as I've said in every review I've done of her other novels, is a masterful writer; it would be very hard to think of a contemporary writer from any genre who has her skill with metaphors and similes. Reading one of her novels is a reminder that there are always new ways to describe the world and human emotions.

Having said all these wonderful things I have to admit that this novel is a tiny bit of a letdown. McCaughrean's writing is up to par, but there's a sentimental streak that's been absent from her other books. The novel's main character is Gracie, an eleven-year-old girl who come to the English coastal town of Seashaw with her parents, who want to take over the shuttered and decaying Royal theatre. The old theatre is in terrible shape and comes complete with a motley collection of ghosts that only Gracie can see. The ghosts come from all walks of life and from different eras, and seem to have ended up in the theatre the way floating debris is caught in an eddy. The ghosts are shocked that Gracie can see them, and thanks to her prodding they reveal something of their lives and how they died. The ghosts also have to deal with a plot by a property developer to burn the theatre down.

As is usually the case with McCaughrean's novels the character-building and descriptive writing are top-notch. She has a Dickens-like ability to churn out sharply-defined, cliche-free characters, and her eye for the telling detail is unmatched. She even adds an interesting wrinkle to the ghost genre with her explanation of why the spirits of the dead linger on. All that's to the good, but unlike her previous novels there's a tweeness and softness around the edges here that's a bit unfortunate. McCaughrean is light years away from being hard-boiled in any way, but her writing normally has a bit of an edge, enough to throw the profound humanity of her writing into greater relief. With one exception all the characters are lovely people with lovely life (and death) stories to tell, and that sameness is a bit disappointing. And the threat posed to the theatre, which is the backbone of the story, is a tired plot device and McCaughrean doesn't find any way to freshen it up.

Even though this novel isn't up to McCaughrean's usual standards, it's still head and shoulders above what other people are doing in the field, and if you've never read one of her books, read this one and bask in the knowledge that you've discovered one of contemporary fiction's great prose stylists, and then rush out and get your hands on The Death Defying Pepper Roux or Not the End of the World or Lovesong. Satisfaction guaranteed.

Read more of my reviews at JettisonCocoon dot com.
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