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I like it...
on 13 March 2007
...because it shows the other side of Darrell's character.
Of course, she is popular, good at games, doing fine in School Cert. and so on - but when she is made head-girl, she hasn't got an easy time. The other girls - though they like Darrell - don't obey willingly, but tease her, especially Alicia who is jealous of each head-girl in turn. And when Darrell loses her temper (she is caught shaking a cheeky first-former), she has to resign as head-girl - a terrible blow to her. That's rather strong, I think - after all, the older girls are allowed to bully and to punish the younger ones, so why shouldn't they shake them a little as well...?!
I like seeing Bill and Clarissa becoming friends - an unlikely match because Bill is a blunt tomboy and Clarissa meek and shy.
I disliked Mavis for thinking "that the small, bespectacled Clarissa was quite well paired off with Gwendoline"! Does Clarissa deserve a "friend" like Gwen because she is small and bespectacled?!
By the way, it is the last time that Darrell's best friend Sally has got a good part - in the following book you hardly notice anything of Sally. But in Upper Fourth, she does a good job calming down Darrell and Connie, and Darrell admires her for always knowing the right thing to say. Unfortunately, she is not in the music-room when Darrell actually loses her temper - she is made head-girl after Darrell has resigned.
Of course, baddie Gwendoline has malicious plans and is found out and punished... I think her stupidity is exaggerated - she is pretending to have a weak heart and obviously, she doesn't stop to think that her parents will take her to a doctor who, of course, finds out that she is pretending.
Then there is a very interesting plot about sibling rivalry between the twins Connie and Ruth - one of Blyton's best ideas, I think. Connie is continually domineering her shy sister, even answering for her when someone speaks to Ruth - and Ruth doesn't seem to mind. But Darrell realizes that she DOES mind, very much...