Just Jealous by Anne Cassidy

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Just Jealous by Anne Cassidy

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A compelling plot from award-winning Anne Cassidy, this time looking at teenage infatuation and youth violence. It's highly readable and very, very clever. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: January 2009
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1407104041

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Elise Hanson had been fond of Carl Murdoch since she was a child and he had come to live next door to her family. Gran thought that there would be trouble – a black man living with a white woman – but Carl's father had long departed. Elly's father had disappeared too, when she was a baby and her mother and brother Andy had moved in with Gran. She'd never known her father and now in her late teens it's her brother she's worried about. He wasn't the only one who was kicking the man on the ground but as Elly pointed out to her mother he was the only one who turned round and faced the CCTV camera. He'd survived serving in the army in Iraq, but was now in prison.

What's important to Elly is her friendship with Carl. Generally it's just a matey friendship, but every now and then it tilts over into something a little more sexual. He's had flings with other girls but they never seem to last for long and when Sandy Miller joined the sixth form Elly thought that she would be another to add to the list. Tall and slim with hair so blond that it was almost white, she made a striking contrast to Carl's mixed race colouring. It was obvious that there was a very strong attraction between them, despite Sandy's big personality and Carl's jealousy. He's not the only one who's jealous. Elly is determined that she's going to split them up.

I love Anne Cassidy. She has her finger on the pulse of youth and particularly on the youth of a particular group. They're not poor, despite the fact that most of the sixth formers are there because they can't get jobs and they're looking not to going to university but to getting a job in a call centre or in the building trade. They're not the beautiful people, with the possible exception of American Sandy. Elly's short and with more bust than she'd like but she does her best to look smart. They're not irresponsible. Carl does building work with his father and Elly has a part-time job in a shop. Despite all this there's a tragedy.

On New Year's Day there's the body of a boy in the local park.

They're characters you can believe in without them being stereotypes. Elly's manipulative and doing her best to win Carl back in the only ways that she knows. And Carl, well Carl has the self-absorption of the teenage boy, prepared to use Elly when it suits his mood without any thought about the mixed messages he might be sending to a girl with very low self-esteem. The outcome is chilling, inevitable and utterly shocking. Superb.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you'll enjoy Hidden Child also by Anne Cassidy but you might also like to explore the work of Jenny Valentine.

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Buy Just Jealous by Anne Cassidy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Just Jealous by Anne Cassidy at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Just Jealous by Anne Cassidy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Just Jealous by Anne Cassidy at Amazon.com.


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Rita Hughes said:

I found Just Jealous was one of the few books that are absolutely chilling to the bone.

I was caught in a torrent of extremely strong emotions right from the beginning, I found that was what made the book both the flawed and the flawless.

I liked the review but feel that it doesn’t quite reach my own standards, myself being a total book worm.

For example it doesn’t mention the fact that Elly actually was the one that caused all the problems in the beginning.

Anyway, I have to go now.

Thanks to the author for such an interesting read.

Rita Hughes

Sue replied:

Sorry not to have come up to your Standards, Rita!

The point of a review is not to cover every detail (and I'd argue with you about whether or not Elly caused all the problems) but to give people a flavour of a book so that they can decide whether or not they'd like to read it. If you say too much then there's no point in anyone getting hold of the book.