Child X

Lee Weatherly

Published by David Fickling Books, 2002
ISBN 10: 0385750099 / ISBN 13: 9780385750097
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Synopsis: Juliet is passionate about acting and has been given the chance to star as the lead role in the play Northern Lights (based on Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass). But at home, her life is not so happy. Her family starts to disintegrate after her father suddenly and unexpectedly leaves home. What exactly is Juliet’s relationship to her flamboyant actor uncle? And what terrible secret is her mother hiding? This is a moving and powerful story of one girl’s search for her own identity, deftly contrasted with the glamour and excitement of the theater.

Review: When her parents' divorce goes from messy to downright weird, a 13-year-old British girl finds that she's no longer Juliet (a.k.a. Jules) Cheney--she's "Child X." This excellent debut novel from Lee Weatherly puts some interesting twists on an otherwise straightforward divorce memoir: The setting alone makes our plucky, put-upon protagonist Jules more compelling (with lively but easy-to-comprehend Briticisms like "I dashed to the loo and hid out there for ages, crying into a wad of rough, horrid loo roll"), and then photographers start popping out from trees and bushes to snap Jules's picture. What's going on here? Could it have something to do with Jules's harried, distant international-financier mum? Or her sweet dad, who writes for "the Beeb"? We're left--like most kids in a divorce--to figure things out on our own, along with poor Jules.

Weatherly shows serious skill for a newcomer, drawing our sympathies this way and that, capturing Jules's inherently unfair age to a tee, and expertly interweaving a theatrical production of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights (known as The Golden Compass in the States and a "stonking great book" in Jules's estimation). And as with Pullman's kid classic, grownups will likely find themselves equally sucked in by Child X's tearful lessons in love and loss. (Brilliant work, Weatherly--you ought to be chuffed.) (Ages 9 to 12) --Paul Hughes

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Child X
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 1St Edition.

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