The allure of the school saga has not diminished over the years. When my son first saw his school he muttered, with deep awe, ‘Hogwarts’. And I smiled broadly when I saw that Lyn Gardner had written her own school series, starting with Olivia’s First Term (oh that title - so delightfully reminiscent of Blyton’s series).
I met Lyn when we both worked for the London listings magazine, City Limits. Lyn was the theatre editor (I fixed the typewriters – which says it all really). Lyn went on to The Guardian (and remains there today) and continues to review theatre with her habitual insight, sensitivity and humour. If anyone knows theatre inside out and back to front, it’s Lyn. Oh, and she has daughters so she’s the business twice over.
Now, you know me. I love dark and doomy and depressing. I inhale supernatural and overcast and heart-broken and wretched. So how come I devoured a book about a bunch of kids at stage school, for pity’s sake? Olivia’s First Term is about dancing and acting and singing; it doesn’t even have one vaguely creepy moment (though there is plenty of drama). I hated High School Musical. I loathe Glee. But, you know, this isn’t like that…not one bit. It’s really got that old Malory Towers magic about it (though the writing is way better). I’ll let you into a secret – I even shed a few tears at the end.Anyhow, if you have stage-struck daughters (roughly aged 8-12), they’ll devour it (and, fear not, it teaches valuable lessons about Not Being A Brat). I know a lot of you have young girls in the house and so I asked the publishers, Nosy Crow, if they could let me have some copies to share. They very kindly agreed and I have six copies to give away. So, if you’d like to win one, simply leave a comment and we’ll do the usual paw in the hat routine.
Oh, and talking about writing and young people, check out the Wicked Young Writers’ Award finalist entries, now published in an anthology by Headline. www.wickedyoungwriters.com – some amazing stuff here.