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The Youngstars Paperback – 23 Apr 2012

20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Inside Pocket (23 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0956712290
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956712295
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,388,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Ursula Jones has had a long and successful career writing for children. In 2003 she won a gold Smartie Award and in 2008 she was awarded the inaugural Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 7 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The plot (without giving away 'spoilers'): England, 1936, and the young members of a stage group perform their skits in northern theatres - with their evil manager (known as The Pig) hounding them along and taking most of their earnings. It is the worst for Ollie: The Pig is his father, and he gets into the most trouble of the lot... but now the fortune-teller has told him that tomorrow he will meet A Stranger, and surely, that will change his luck? And it does, but which way his luck changes remains to be seen...
A rollicking story of the theatre, poverty, imagination, solid friendships, love and death, doubles and mistaken identities, mysterious pasts; stealing cars, being chased by gun-toting strangers, being lost in big cities; and where do the rich American kid and the French girl come in?

The author: Ursula Jones trained at RADA and is an actress and writer for children: The Witch's children trilogy, for example, which won the 2003 Gold Smartie award and the 2008 Roald Dahl Funny Prize; but also plays for children, and scripts for the TV series Green Claws.

My opinion: rollicking, complicated, messy and pretty enthralling sums it up! Funny and absorbing, too, even if the writing is a bit jerky at times (over-edited?) and some of the similes rather graphical! But the tale, the most important thing of all, drags you along and keeps you entertained, and guessing, all the way; laughing, and sometimes with a tear in your eye. For smart 12-year-olds, and up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on 10 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
The Youngstars is set in 1936 and follows a teenage theatre troupe as they tour the country. When they arrive in Liverpool where they are due to give there biggest ever performance, strange things begin to occur.

Ollie is the son of the troupe manager Mr Piggott (known as `The Pig'). Ollie is not close to his father and suffers from a stammer, he is the one member of The Youngstars who really does not enjoy performing. Whilst on the train to Liverpool he spots his double on another train. The double spots him too and aided by a mysterious French girl called Giselle sets off to see if his doppelganger really does exist. What follows is a fantastic and hilarious story that I found gripping to the very end.

This is an action packed book, full of non-stop adventure that had me laughing out loud in places.

A highly recommended book - I am looking forward to reading more from Ursula Jones.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By CM.Collerton on 13 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
Set in Britain in 1936, The Youngstars by Ursula Jones will take you on a journey with a teenage performing troupe as they have the adventure of a lifetime.But life in the group is hard and Ollie, the youngest, isn't even paid! Soon Ollie concocts a plan to run away, however, he has yet to meet a young boy who will turn his life around.

The Youngstars is an exciting and captivating book, from doubles to dancers, London to laundry this book has everything to keep the reader satisfied throughout every twist and turn of the tale. The characters are diverse and entertaining, and each has their own fascinating background story. Youngstars is an amazing book which I really enjoyed reading. Any child who loves a good story between the age of 9 and 12 will love this great book.

Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An absolutely ripping yarn, just the kind of adventure story you want to keep reading. It has all the ingredients: two boys with a mysterious connection, a troupe of children who work in variety theatre, pursuit by threatening man, car chases, fights, and a clever friend to help out.

Set in 1936 the book tells Ollie's story. He is the youngest in the troupe of Youngstars who travel the country performing their comedy sketches, singing and dancing for the audiences in the variety theatres of cities and towns. It is a hard life. Ollie's father runs the troupe and is hard on him.

Why does Ollie never get paid like the others? Why will the Pig never discuss Ollie's mother? Why is he never in the company photographs? These are facts Ollie just accepts, but then on the train journey from Wigan to Liverpool his life begins to change when he sees something he never expected through the window of the train drawn up at the side of his.

The kids are all great characters. Jessie the kind trouper, Silver who is determined to be a Hollywood star, John who is growing too tall and wants to remain a child and tap dance with the troupe a bit longer, Grinling the dwarf pretending to be a child, and Heather the sincere but poor plain one.

Ursula Jones uses some classic ploys of children's stories: being lost on a dark night in the countryside, escape from a train, sudden twists in the story and a huge amount of expense as the two people you really want to meet eachother keep just missing the moment - until the climax.

It is like one of the TV series I used to watch as a kid: each surprise makes you want to find out what is going to happen next and how it will all be sorted out. At least with this book you don't have to wait until next week to find out.
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By D. Elliott TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ursula Jones has been a successful writer for children for many years and she draws on her theatrical background for `The Youngstars'. The book is set in 1930s depressed Britain and is centred on a troupe of mainly youngsters performing in variety shows as `young stars'. The targetted age appears to be 12+ years as younger readers may miss some of the narrative's superb subtleties and nuances, and yet every age group will appreciate the wonderful farce and slapstick. These elements are combined with gripping thriller basics of adventurous escape, eluding police, mysterious pursuer etc. as Ursula Jones' interweaving of entertaining and exciting events makes `The Youngstars' a particularly intriguing book.

Reliance on coincidences in novels is often irritating, but in `The Youngstars' coincidences, by both accident and design, are a major feature of the plot. 2 major parts to the story ricochet off each other as they relate to a pair of doppelgangers with `nice' and `nasty' qualities, and again their relationships with others become intriguingly interwoven. Great opportunities abound for misunderstandings and confusion between characters, but Ursula Jones ensures readers are always privy to the various misinterpretations and miscalculations. In addition to a skilfully constructed plot there are serious issues including Spanish civil war, inner city poverty, child exploitation and death. `The Youngstars' is both thought provoking and highly enjoyable - for all ages.
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