This is the story of two girls. One, Pauline, is from a poor background, and suffers from neglect. The other, Gemma, is from a much better home, but when her mum becomes friendly with a man who isn't Gemma's dad, Gemma finds herself in a vulnerable situation. There is also a storyline of a child star named Lallie Paluza, and the film that she is making, part of which is filmed at the girls' school.
This is a strange and intriguing read. It got off to a great start, with reminders of life in the 70s, penny mixes and Tammy comic, but then took quite a sinister turn and led to a conclusion that was agonising to read.
I really liked Amanda Coe's writing style. She certainly doesn't hold back, or worry about writing things that might offend. I must admit that I didn't think the Lallie storyline added anything to the plot at all, except to offer another view of how a child can be vulnerable. I was far more interested in Gemma and Pauline, never friends, but who teamed up in the most unpleasant of ways.
I found this to be a good read, but it did leave a slightly bad taste in my mouth. It's disturbing in several places. Sometimes this is obvious, but other times it is implied. Just the general neglect of Pauline is horrible to read, and also the situation that Gemma finds herself in. I was always compelled to read on though and find out what would happen next, and I read the end with sickening dread. As the reader, I knew the story was always heading towards something unpleasant, but I didn't know what.
I'd certainly be interested in seeing what the author would come up with next as the writing is very good. Her scriptwriting past is evident in this book's narrative and dialogue.