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Lissa's father is in jail and her comfortable life has been turned upside down. Hurt and angry, she rejects her closest friends and forms a collusive alliance with Diane, a new girl at school. Diane is used to having her own way and enjoys goading Lissa into persecuting her vulnerable classmates. Bad Company is similar to Anne Fine's The Tulip Touch in its depiction of a destructive friendship but in contrast MacPhail suggests that over-indulgence potentially may be as damaging as poverty, physical abuse and neglect. In this engaging story the true nature of friendship and loyalty are explored as Lissa achieves a new self-awareness and understanding of her father's actions. Eventually she comes to recognise the wisdom in her teacher's words: 'the only way you can feel important is to belittle other people. And I am telling you now ... that true greatness comes from recognising other people's worth. Maybe then you can find your own.'