Teenage Fiction

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The Independent Culture
I'm a Vegetarian by Bernadette Leach, Attic Press pounds 3.99. This tale of the young Vanessa Carter's move to Ireland is a fast-moving, enjoyable book which shows Vanessa settling in to life in a new country without a father or brother. The book has some stereotyped characters, from Vanessa - an intelligent, witty girl who copes with her problems by taking a sarcastic view of them - to her over- dramatic history-teaching mother who looks on life as a soap opera. All in all, the book gives an enlightening view of a teenager's world, even if in parts it is slightly far-fetched.

Emma Warrington (16) Tytherington County High, Cheshire

The Wheel of Surya by Jamila Gavin, Methuen pounds 9.99. This book is based on the experiences of a family who fight to stay together after the war breaks out in India. The children and their mother leave for England where their father is, but along the way Marvinder and Jaspal get separated from their mother and have to carry on the journey to England alone. It is a very moving story, written with understanding, and really makes you aware of the courage people showed during the war. I would recommend this book for 11-14s.

Carla Barnes (15)

Wollaston School, Northants

The Egg Man by Sian Lewis, Andersen Press pounds 8.99. The cornfield and then the animal shed - that is what started Brett's life as the 'Egg Man'. But these were the most beautiful eggs in the world: Faberge eggs designed for the tsars of Russia. This turns out to be perhaps one of the most interesting tales introduced into children's literature: initially not very inspiring, but the more I read the more engrossed I became. A deeply involving book for 12- to 14-year-olds.

Rosalind Wicks (13)

Wollaston School, Northants

Burn Up by Anne Bailey, Faber pounds 3.99. Two 17-year-old sisters have to adapt to a new life when their father is sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. The dialogue is occasionally confusing, and there are annoying repetitions of words and phrases, but once this barrier is overcome the book is enjoyable and exciting, with a good plot. Suitable for up to 15s.

Kirsten Kruszewski (16)

St Andrew's High School, Fife

The Transformation of Jennifer Howard by Anthony Masters, Methuen pounds 9.99. Despite my admiration for the writer for introducing delicate issues of the 1990s such as Aids and divorce, I found this story rather melodramatic in places. Jennifer faces her problems with the help of religion, which suggests, perhaps, that people cannot overcome their difficulties without it. Overall, however, I would recommend this as a good, dramatic, action-packed novel.

Katy Pearcey (16)

Tytherington County High, Cheshire

The Skybreaker by Ann Halam, Puffin pounds 3.99. I was pleasantly surprised by this fantasy story, which is meticulously written with good attention to detail. The characters have ridiculous names (Zanne of Garth, Holne of Mirth), but this is compensated for by the integrity of the plot. It is nothing original in teenage literature, and immature and sensationalist at times, but a 'good read' for its target age-group of 12-14s.

Joseph Longden (15)

Tytherington County High, Cheshire

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