In a world where image is seen as being of great importance this story of 14-year-old Jenna who has bad facial burns from a car accident, is particularly poignant. It is also a story about her relationship with Ryan who lives on a narrow boat with his ‘hippy’ mother. The legacy of the accident affects Jenna’s relationships at school and in the wider community, but it really hits home when Steven Carlisle, who caused the accident, is found dead. Both Ryan and Jenna’s father appear as suspects and somehow the real killer has to be found.
This is a moving and well written story about the pressures that young people find themselves under in order to fit into their peer group. The underlying themes are thought provoking and perhaps an indictment of the way that people are judged by looks, rather than for who they are. I found that I really cared about what happened at the end, despite the novel having a slow start. It was a surprise to realize how deeply it makes one think about so many issues and I can see it being widely used by secondary schools in PSHE sessions.
The story links in with several TV programmes shown in the last year and also at least one other book, all of which look at the way image has become so important. It is aimed at the older teenager and uses strong language (the ‘F’ word).