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Home » Books » Children's » Fiction » Social Situations » Adolescence


By Benjamin Zephaniah

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Format: Paperback, 208 pages, Re-issue Edition
Published In: United Kingdom, 07 May 1999
"Martin was on top of the world. His credibility was sealed and Natalie was proud of him." If there's one thing that Martin is sure about, it's that life is pretty good to him. But life - as Martin is about to find out - has a habit of throwing the unexpected at you. "At this point Martin knew something terrible had happened to his face. His heart pounded in his chest. He shifted his eyes to the left and saw his father standing over him 'Are you OK, son?'" Martin's life is about to change forever. In his debut novel, poet Benjamin Zephaniah tackles the story of a young man whose life is completely changed when his face is badly scarred in a joyriding accident.

Promotional Information

A publishing sensation as high-profile performance poet writes first novelIncredibly strong subject matter that will create debateHighly promotable author

About the Author

The Author: Benjamin Zephaniah is probably one of the most high-profile international authors writing today, with an enormous breadth of appeal, equally popular with both adults and children. Most well-known for his performance poetry with a political edge for adults and ground-breaking performance poetry for children, Benjamin also has his own rap/reggae band, and has appeared on Desert Island Discs. He is in constant demand internationally to perform his work: he is (he thinks) Nelson Mandela's favourite poet, and is the only Rastafarian poet to be short-listed for the Chairs of Poetry for both Oxford and Cambridge University. Benjamin lives in East Ham, London.


"The author paints a sympathetic portrait of a burn victim, who changes as much on the inside as on the outside," PW said. "Kids will tune in to this book's clear message about appearances." Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

'A gripping book ... a perceptive, poignant and compelling story' Waterstone's Guide to Kid's Books

Gr 8-10-Accepting a ride home with a former schoolmate, Pete, after a night out, Martin and Mark, 15, are unaware that he has been joyriding in a stolen car, and the short trip turns to tragedy as he is killed and Martin's face is burned beyond recognition. The medical treatments for burn victims are described accurately, and each professional involved with the teen's care comes into play as a supporting character. Martin's emotions run the gamut from guilt and anger to fear of losing his friends and being ignored by classmates. A psychologist helps him handle looking into a mirror for the first time and he befriends another patient, whose reassurance is pivotal to his recovery. Because of his grit and tenaciousness, Martin refuses to play the victim for long. When his girlfriend rejects him and children call him "Dog face," he becomes depressed but ultimately recovers after gaining the respect of his gymnastics teammates, who name him captain. Rather than pity Martin, readers will empathize with his desire to be normal. They will also enjoy the British dance club scene and the hip teen vocabulary.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

EAN: 9780747541547
ISBN: 074754154X
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.3 centimetres (0.11 kg)
Age Range: 10-14 years
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1 review(s)
All Reviews
Cristie on
On the positive side, Face does have some good messages about misfortune, friendship, and acceptance. Most kids would not be very discriminating about writing style, but I found it stilted and overly simplistic. Instead of showing what the main character, Martin, was going through, there would be a short and trite summary paragraph that would often feel slightly preachy as opposed to letting the reader go through it with Martin and gain empathy. A great book I would recommend over this about true disability would be Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman, whose main character has severe cerebral palsy

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