Author – Tony Abbott
Age – 8+
This story is as thought provoking, sad and truthful as WONDER and should be read by anyone 8+
Tom is shy at school, his only friend being Jeff Hicks, who is a little “off the wall” sometimes. Most days they hang out after school at Jeff’s house and talk cars, and comics. They sit next to each other in class and they like their teacher Mrs Tracy.
One day, Mrs Tracy seems more serious than normal and tells them they will soon have a new girl in their class – Jessica Feeney. But Jessica is a little different. Something terrible happened to her and she has terrible deformities from burns.
From the moment Jessica arrives, Tom begins a journey many students face. Should he stick with his friends who are being unkind to the new kid, or stick up for the newbie when he feels his friends are wrong?
Tom is suddenly in a constant battle in his thoughts or what’s right and what’s not, and how he can deal with it. This first person inner conflict is written brilliantly.
There are questions at the end of the novel that teachers could use in their class. This would make a great Year 6 – Year 8 read aloud.
(Read aloud, School, Friendship, Differences, Guilty, Conflict)