Review by The Mole
Jess's dad is suspended from work and so her mum takes her and her sister off to a remote Scottish island to join a commune. Jess is freaked out by the weirdness of the other kids in the commune until she finally manages to join in their activities. But why has her mum run away instead of staying and supporting her dad? Why won't her mum and sister tell her what her dad has been accused of? And won't someone help her dad clear his name?
When I started reading this I was surprised by Jess, who describes herself as a stroppy teenager. Aren't most teenagers stroppy and how many would roll over and just agree to go without a blazing row unless parents are totally honest with them - and neither of these things happen. Once I got past that I found the story to be extremely enjoyable and quite fast paced. There is a love angle in there but it's not central at all. The behaviour of the teenagers (after the initial scene setting) is very well written from embarrassed son to supportive friends to clumsy first dates.
With Jess in year 10, I think this is probably suited to the 12-15 reader and hopefully it emphasises the 'innocent until proven guilty' message that so many people ignore. Oh, and don't send dodgy photos of yourself unless you want to be publicly embarrassed.
Publisher - Piccadilly
Genre - Teen mystery