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Looking for JJ


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About the Author

Anne Cassidy started writing 15 years ago and is a well known author of several novels for teens, including Looking for JJ, Missing Judy, Talking to Strangers, Tough Love, and Birthday Blues. Looking for JJ was shortlisted for bot the Whitbread award and the Carnegie Medal and won the Booktrust Teenage Book Award in 2004.


Gr 7 Up-Alice Tully seems to be a normal teenager, but she compulsively scours the newspapers for information about Jennifer Jone (JJ). Six years ago, at age 10, JJ and two friends walked into the woods, but only two girls came back. JJ was convicted of killing her best friend. Why is Alice so interested in JJ? Through flashbacks and interludes, Alice's motivations become clear. Teens will relate to Alice's struggle for identity, her worries about her boyfriend, and her relationship with her mum in Anne Cassidy's novel (Scholastic, pap. 2004), winner of the U.K. Trust Teenage Prize. The novel is well narrated by Shirley Barthelmie and enhanced by music reminiscent of Hitchcock films. Most Briticisms can be discerned in context. There are a few technical glitches: a repeated sentence and a few slurred and nearly indecipherable words. For teens who enjoy novels by Lois Duncan and Joan Lowry Nixon.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

British novelist Cassidy's well-crafted tale of crime and punishment delves into the mind of a child killer and explores the path she takes once she repays her debt to society. Jennifer Jones, nicknamed JJ, never knew her father and was repeatedly emotionally abused and abandoned by her mother. One hot morning, when she is 10, she takes a walk to a nearby reservoir with two friends and returns hours later, leaving one friend behind forever. After spending six years in custody, Jennifer is released, given an alias and helped to forge a new life, but her past stands resolutely in her way. The story unfolds in present time with flashbacks blended seamlessly into the narrative, neatly fueling the growing suspense. When the full details of the murder are revealed, the moment is shocking in its simplicity. Cassidy consistently demonstrates that the abuse inflicted upon Jennifer during her childhood has left her detached, incapable of experiencing a range of emotions and doubting herself deserving of happiness and love. While psychologically astute, this portrayal keeps readers at a distance. It falls instead to the novel's structure, with its well-timed revelations, and to a finely tuned story line about the cat-and-mouse-games that the media plays with Jennifer, to hold the audience's interest. Ages 14-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

"Dark, chilling and clever."--Celia Rees, author of The Wish House and Blood Sinister"Compassionate, unsensational and unflinching."--The Guardian (London)"A skillful tale. . . . The ethical issues and solid, suspenseful storytelling provide many discussion possibilities."--Booklist "A sympathetic look at someone who has done the unspeakable and now has to live with the results."--KLIATT

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