The Adventures of Jimmy Scar
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Gemma lives in a close, protective relationship with her dad since her mother died when she was a baby. Through a series of somewhat unlikely circumstances her dad is gaoled for a robbery which he didn't commit. Gemma, or Jimmy, runs away and meets Monti, an old woman who has evolved an extraordinary self-sufficient way of life for herself deep in woodlands. Gemma lives with Monti, learning how to survive only on the bounty of nature, until the old woman is struck by lightning and is hospitalised. This event leads to the climax of the novel, when much is revealed and loose ends in the lives of Gemma, her dad, and Monti are neatly sewn up. Part family story, part thriller and part survival novel, Jimmy Scar is an unusual book. Not least because its protagonist is 10, which tends to imply a younger readership (and indeed the cover might suggest this). However, some of the scenes in its pages suggest a reader of 12+. At times the writing is awkward, and the denouement must strain the suspension of disbelief in even the most credulous of readers. Yet, Gemma/Jimmy is a strong, likeable character and I found myself engrossed in her exploits.