Molly is in year 6 at primary school and lives with her Nan and Grandad, after her mother left home several years before. She is an enthusiastic swimmer and member of the local swimming club, with high hopes of being really successful at her beloved sport. Life starts to get more complex when her best friend begins to criticise her about her size, shape and lack of interest in boys. For Chloe making sure that she will fit in at secondary school has become a big thing and she thinks that Molly will make them stand out (not in a good way), so she tries to persuade Molly to stop swimming. Then to add to the pressure Molly’s mother and boyfriend turn up and start staying at Molly’s house. How our young heroine deals with these situations makes for an exciting and very heartfelt story. Will she succeed at her swimming gala, is her mother going to stay and will her friendship with Chloe survive the pressures of year 6? You really will have to read this to find the answers.
This was a great story for young people who are about to undertake the first major change in their school lives. The move from primary to
secondary school is a stressful time for many young people, as they move from being the most senior to being the most junior again. The author handles a variety of issues with care and hopefully the young readers will gain confidence. However the main issue that is raised by this book is that of ‘body image’. Molly has the perfect physique for a swimmer with broad shoulders, strong arms and legs, but for some of those around her this equates to being ‘overweight’ and means they stand no chance of being ‘in with the in crowd’. There is a very strong message given by the author about being positive about your looks and not trying to copy the images we see in the media. It is particularly
important for young people, both boys and girls, as they are still growing and they cannot assume that their looks at 11 years old will reflect what they are when they are 18 or older. This is a great story for KS2 children but it also has strong messages that apply no matter what age we are.