Top critical review
although their parents are nice. But Dinah's biggest shock comes at school
on 26 July 2014
Dinah has just been fostered by the Hunter family, and all she wants is to keep her head down and get along. The Hunter boys - Lloyd, who is Dinah's age, and Harvey, a few years younger - don't seem very welcoming, although their parents are nice. But Dinah's biggest shock comes at school. The children act like robots and the prefects are hopped up on their own power and think nothing of doling out cruel and unusual punishments for the slightest infraction. But the headmaster - he's the really disturbing thing...
I read this in Year 7 or Year 8, along with my class, and I just barely remembered it, so it was interesting to read it again.
I can't exactly say I liked the book. I can't say I disliked it either. For pure enjoyment, it was not to my taste: I found it quite cold and joyless. Yet Ms Cross has definitely captured the sense of alienation that so many pre-teens and early teenagers feel, that sense that they are alone and persecuted and that adults who should be helpful are blind and deaf at best and evil at worst. Dinah, who is truly alone in the world, and the Hunter brothers, who are outcasts at school and whose otherwise loving parents refuse to believe the atrocities that are being committed by the headmaster, are characters whose problems will have touched a nerve in a lot of kids, from the time the book was written right through today.
So not to my personal taste, and probably not interesting enough for me to look up the sequels, but a good read nonetheless. 3 - 3.5 stars.