It's another beautifully written Jacqueline Wilson story, but there's not a lot of fun in this one.
It's all about Violet and how she copes with her difficult family. She's got this brother you see, only, he isn't really her brother because he's just discovered that he was adopted when he was a baby. But Violet absolutely insists that she loves him just the same. Violet has always adored Will, even though sometimes, he terrifies her.
She's got this loud-mouthed, pompous policeman father who bullies her mother:
I knew Mum longed for a proper girly daughter to confide in. But I never knew what to say to Mum. We didn't have a thing in common. It was almost as if I was the one who was adopted.
Even Violet can see that her mother should stand up to her father sometimes, but she never does. And nor does Violet stand up to her brother, Will:
What was I doing, still playing these weird games with Will? Why did I always let him control me? He didn't really have any power over me. He couldn't make me do anything, not if I stood up to him. I just didn't know how to do it.
Violet really needs to talk it over with someone. When Jasmine, self-possessed and beautiful, starts at Violet's school they become instant friends. Now, is Jasmine really on Violet's side, or is Will going to spoil it all? And who else is there that Violet could talk to?
This is a surprisingly powerful story and it quite scared me, wondering what Will was going to do next, so I had to read it really quickly. Highly recommended!
One thing though, I was left wondering what was Violet's thought process that led her to make the changeling baby out of her ragbag of bits at the end of this story? Remember the illustration, right at the beginning of the book, of the changeling child?
Fairies steal away beloved babies and leave a changeling child in their place. These base elfin breeds are often evil, with difficult, demanding natures and enormous appetites.
Perhaps after her conversation with Casper Dream Violet had faced up to the fact that Will was less than perfect as a brother? That didn't mean she didn't love him any more, but making the changeling child might have helped her to break the apparent hold that he had over her.
What can I read next?
Jacqueline Wilson has written literally dozens of books, and if you aren't already a fan you very soon will be. Have a look at:
If you are interested in the problems of adoption you might like to have a look at this prize-winning book by Hillary McKay:
Or you might enjoy this light American classic about an orphan girl by Jean Webster:
Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:
- The Diamond Girls by Jacqueline Wilson (Score: 93%)
- Underworld by Catherine MacPhail (Score: 86%)
- Other Echoes by Adele Geras (Score: 86%)
- In the Middle of the Night by Robert Cormier (Score: 86%)
- The Devil's Toenail by Sally Prue (Score: 86%)
Midnight features in these lists: