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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 20 February 2017
She's 10 which was the age I was when I read this dark novel. It handles a dark subject well and opens up great discussions
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on 25 January 2010
I first read this book when i was in primary school and it has remained in my bookcase ever since. It is a fascinating albeit harrowing book to read, but i think it is an important book - even more so in the light of current events with recent goings on with 'The devil Boys'.
The story centres around Natalie Barnes, whose family have taken over the local Hotel. Natalie meets the enigmatic and strange creature Tulip Pierce. Tulip quickly draws Natalie to her and the two engage in various games,such as stinking makerel and road of bones, which become progessively more disturbing and dark - along with Tulips behaviour. Natalie tries to distance herself from Tulip, but she finds that she cant, as Tulip prays on her mind constantly.
This then is where we uncover the story of Tulips background. We see a child who has suffered all manner of physical and, it is strongly implied, sexual abuse at the hands of her violent father. There is one disturbing point where there is a story of a child who had drowned and Tulip takes a perverse interest in it, and she even pays visits to the family to the dead girl for her own amusement.
The story is important because Anne Fine, through this book, makes the point that Tulip could be any child at all, but that because of the life she had and abuse she got at home, presumably from an early age, she did the things she did in the book. The book also has lessons which we can learn in cases such as that of 'The Devil Boys' in England, or indeed the case of Mary Bell, since they too are a product of their hellish upbringing. As the cover of the book itself says, No one is born evil. No one.
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on 31 August 2000
This book is quite simply the best book I have ever read aimed at a child audience on the difficult subject of abuse and parental derelication of responsibility. It is a chilling read - never graphic, but all the more sinister for the way it implies the despair - , and bravely and rightly asks children to put themselves in the main character's position constantly. What would I do about Tulip? Could I make a difference? Should I even try?
And at the centre of the book is Tulip herself, surely one of the most fascinating characters to appear in any children's novel. She has so many aspects - a richly imagined, complex, irrational, sometimes appealing and sometimes frightening character. Fine manages to make us believe in her and sympathise so much with her plight.
Fantastic.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 September 2009
Winner of the Carnegie Children's Book of the Year for 1996, this story concerns Natalie, daughter of a hotel proprietor and her friendship with Tulip of the title. Tulip has an awful home-life and at first Natalie's parents encourage their friendship. But they don't really know what the girls are getting up to together. They play some rather silly games, such as `Stinky Mackeral' where the idea is to pretend that somebody smells, without actually saying so to their face. They also play games that have a more dangerous flavour, one of which involves them knocking on a door at random and making up a story that will get them inside the house. But the game that breaks up the friendship and leads Natalie to worry for her own and her family's safety is setting fire to dustbins or old sheds.

Natalie breaks away from Tulip, but Tulip has one last awful game that she's determined to play. Introduce your pre-teen daughters to some excellent writing today by giving them this book.
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on 1 July 2009
My daughter was going to meet Anne Fine at a literary festival so read this in advance and quite enjoyed it. Having met her and heard her describe what inspired her to write the book, I found myself intrigued enough to read it too.

I really enjoyed it and thought it was well put together in terms of both plot and characters. The first few light hearted pages don't really give an indication of a more heavyweight and sinister theme unfolding as the story goes on. For the book was inspired by the Jamie Bulger case, and led her to wonder whether children are born evil or gain an evil streak because of how they are brought up - in this case the 'culprits' are girls, with one being the ringleader and the other getting egged on to do spiteful things. A really thought provoking book with a great theme about rights and wrongs for slightly older children to consider (mature 10 upwards).
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on 16 November 2003
i found the Tulip Touch quite an unpredictable book. My first impressions of Tulip were that she was a strange girl. When Tulip was first introduced she was in a middle of a field holding a kitten with its eyes still closed. It was there Natalie first met Tulip. When it was time for school the next day Natalie was in the playground and she saw Tulip by the fence. She wallked up to Tulip and said "Do you want to be friends." I felt quite sorry for Tulip as apart from Natalie, Tulip had no friends. But later on in the book the tables turned and it was Natalie who I felt sorry for. Tulip had a strong hold on Natalie and could make her do things she would never even dream of. The more Tulip was with Natalie the more Natalie would get into trouble. Until one day there friendship ended and when Natalie did something she shouldn't have done to Tulip. It was then Tulip acted in a most alarming way.
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I finally got around to reading The Tulip Touch this week and really enjoyed the characterisation and the setting of the story. However, I do wonder if the real meaning of the story may be lost on the the target audience of Young Adult readers? As an adult, I easily picked up the message that the author was trying to put across, but am not sure that impressionable youngsters would pick it up. Saying that though, I did think it was a very cleverly written book. The character of Tulip was excellently written - both vulnerable, yet just a little bit manaical at the same time.

An interesting read and one that made me think about how we judge young people.
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on 9 April 2001
This is a very sad and difficult book to read because it deals with an unpleasant situation. It is about a little girl called Tulip who suffers mental and physical cruelty at home which no-one can stop happening. Her continued bad behaviour is a cry for help which is not answered and over several years she became mentally ill.
The story is written through the eyes of her best friend Natalie.It starts with Natalie's family moving in to a new area and running a hotel. Natalie is lonely and sees Tulip with a kitten in a field. Tulip is hesitant to speak but decides to be friends with Natalie. No-one questioned why, except police officer Stallworthy who later wondered what Tulip saw in Natalie. Everyone else shuns Tulip who rarely attended school an was always difficult and unpleasant. Natalie's mum states 'She's bright enough to see tha if people like her go around exactly what they want, everyone's miserable.'
The whole book becomes more uncomfortable and sinister. Natalie is banned from visiting Tulip's house. she visits once but is very frightened by what she sees and the odd behaviour of Tulip's parents especially her father who is a vindictive bully.
Natalie's father summed her up when he said "to really know right from wrong you need a certain emotional sympathy, and you learn that from being treated properly yourself." "If you've been brought up as if your feelings don't matter, you probably assume other people's don't matter much either."
Tulip spends as much time as possible with Natalie to escape her home, but the games they play are always weird such as Havoc, Road of Bones or Stinking Mackerel. Natalie's little brother Julius was often the but of these games and he got very scared and frightened by them. Gradually the games became wilder and more frightening. First Tulip favoured dustbin fires but slowly she switched to annoying neighbours, menacing bereaved parents, fellow pupils, terrorizing pets and leaving dead animals in cages.
No-one ever seemed to stop her or help her situation, so the darker side inside Tulip surfaced. As Natalie said "In her(Tulip's) eyes it was the world that was wrong. If the world had only been right, if things had only fallen out the way they should then she would never have to lie, or steal or be spiteful."
Natalie realises that Tulip is out of control and becomes so frightened she backs away and concentrates on her schoolwork. This disturbs Tulip who cannot handle the rejection and ends up burning down the hotel in an act of revenge. The book leaves a sense of sadness and guilt that no-one had really tried to reach out and help Tulip.Natalie sums it up "Each horrible thing that happens makes a difference and there have been too many of those in Tulip's life."
I did not enjoy this book because it made feel uncomfortable. It is well written because youm never know what is happening in Tulip's life which adds to the suspense. Don't read this book before bed time because you will never sleep!!!!!
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on 30 October 2008
This story was ultimately enthralling with the disturbed character of Tulip making it up-put-downable. The ending leaves you with a real mix of emotions - to feel sorry for Tulip or to condemn her. The reader is asked to consider whether Tulip's upbringing really explains or justifies her behaviour.
Moreover the dilemmas faced by Natalie are very relevant: she is easy to empathise with and her fascination with the charismatic Tulip is all to possible to understand. The social issues raised are important ones for children (and adults) to face.
This book disturbed me. Buy it.
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on 23 March 2000
Well, how can i possibly find the words to express the feeling of reading such a wonderful book! I have read the book twice because I enjoyed it so much the first time! I recommend this book to people who are probably about 13 or over because some parts are a little deep and may be hard for a younger child to understand. I have read many books in my time but this one just about tops the lot! I especially enjoyed reading it knowing that my favourite authour, Anne Fine, had wrote it! If you read this Anne then congratulations on writing yet another fabulous book!
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