Top critical review
It’s not as good as Noughts and Crosses but what you will find is well written book with a message. Pretty good.
on 1 September 2015
So as the blurb suggests the book follows Mike who is new in school; desperate to make friends, which he ultimately does, he finds himself at the wrath of Gemma. Gemma prefers to be invisible, pretending she is unseen and preferring to spend her time cutting out and collecting images of mothers. However when Gemma recognises Mike in one of her scrapbooks, she decides to use this too her advantage; blackmailing him and causing all sorts of emotional damage. The book spins between the two, who are both hiding secrets about their parents and themselves as this book looks at the danger of bullying, hatred, bribery and friendship all written in this authors compelling style.
The writing is simple and basic, written for reader 11+ it needs to be to suit the reading age. The description is also less but it works to help push the plot along although it starts slowly. I liked the use of Gemma’s controlling style despite her difficulty to fit in with the other students she has class with. It does feel a little dark in places, especially seen in Gemma’s dominating and bulling fashion, but it also looks at why she is compelled to act in such a destructive way. She’s lonely and tired of being the odd one out, which helps her become closer to her own family as a whole. I thought the tale of Mike, damaged by his abusive and aggressive father and the story of the day that they leave and his father dies was compelling and a strong contrast to Gemma’s tale and both being estranged from their mother’s helped to bring the two together. I thought the mystery surrounding the death of Mike’s father and the location of his mother helped to add to the mystery. The ending wrapped up well and the development of characters is advanced well and they both grow as it continues; it’s a compelling tale.
My only wobble was that Gemma is quite unlikeable ( I know this is a main part of the story) but even in the ending she comes across a little terse. I think she could have blossomed more, but it’s a minor point. Overall as I mentioned it’s not as good as Noughts and Crosses and if you’re looking for a book that’s just as good you won’t find it here. What you will find is well written book with a message. Pretty good.