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This issue’s cover illustration is from Creaturepedia by Adrienne Barman. Thanks to Wide Eyed Editions for their help with this cover.
Francis is a bit of an outsider and doesn’t have many friends. But he finds it really easy to talk to Jessica. Amongst other things, they share a love of fashion and design, and in fact they are firm friends within hours of meeting. It doesn’t really matter to either that Jessica’s a ghost.
Francis, it emerges, isn’t the only person who can see Jessica. First there’s Andi, the girl brought round by a friend of his mum in the hope that the two will become friends. Like Francis, Andi hasn’t found school easy. As she says about her last school, ‘if you were short, ugly and looked a complete idiot in school uniform, it was hell.’ And being able to hit people – something Andi can do well – doesn’t make you friends with anyone. The third person to see Jessica is Roland, who has had such a hard time at school that he won’t go at all.
As the four of them become good friends, Andi determines to find out why it is only they can see Jessica, and how Jessica died. The answers to both questions are linked: Jessica committed suicide, the others were all considering it.
Andrew Norriss perfectly describes the transforming power of friendship, it’s a heart-warming, uplifting read. Funny, clever, beautifully written, this wonderful book also shows how quickly life can change, so that it can appear impossible one moment, but be full of hope and possibilities the next. That is such an important message for young people. Every teenage suicide is a tragedy, reading this book might provide unhappy young people with a different perspective, show them that they are not alone, or encourage them to talk to someone. There should be a copy in every school and library.