It's a 50/50 Thing by Chris Higgins

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It's a 50/50 Thing by Chris Higgins

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Kally sees a side of Jem that no one else sees, and is happy to spend time with him when no one else will, but is there a reason he is so feared by the rest of her class, and is she letting herself in for more than she can handle?
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: January 2008
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0340950685

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Kally is not at all excited about relocating to the country, moving into a tiny new house or starting at a new school, but the worst of it has to be that her Dad's not coming with them, and sometimes that's all she can think about. She won't tell you where he is, mind, but you quickly know that whatever the reason he's not with her, her Mum, and her little sister Izzy, it's nothing as nice or as understandable as working abroad (the lie they adopt to keep things simple in the new town).

On her first day at school, Kally meets two people who are going to change her life for the rest of the school year at least. There's Megan, the deputy head's daughter who quickly befriends Kally and makes her feel at home, and then there's Jem, who she meets in rather unfortunate circumstances (he's sent to the head's office for misbehaving while she's there going through first day stuff) but who she can't help but being drawn to. As they begin to realise lots of things they have in common, and start spending more time together, Kally starts to see an other side of Jem from the rest of the school - to them he can be a bad-verging-on-evil bully, but to her he's nothing but considerate and kind, even helping out with her little sister when she's stuck. There's not many teenage boys who would do that if you paid them, let alone volunteer for free. The more she gets to know him, the more confused Kally gets because it seems like there's two Jems in there, as if he's 50:50, good:bad depending on who is around.

A rookie mistake, Kally tries to save "bad" Jem from himself, to change him into someone else, probably because at age 14 her Mum hasn't had the "you can't change a man... and you shouldn't bother trying" talk with her yet. She decides to share things with him that she hasn't told other people, including the real reason her Dad's not with them, but as things with Jem start to escalate out of control, she begins to see the sticky situation she's got herself in with this boy, and can't help but wonder whether she'll ever be able to break free, and scoot away in one piece.

Though it might not hit you until afterwards, this book has quite a powerful message in it about dangerous obsessions and emotional control. Kally is a strong, smart girl, but doesn't see what's going on until it's too late and she's already in too deep. There are so many strands to this book that are beautifully interwoven - what's the deal with Kally's father? Will her Mum pull through? Why are Megan and her Dad so anti-Jem? Why is he so anti-everyonelse? What happened to Miss Baker? Just as you start to work something else, another thread comes loose, sending you off in a different direction. The ending is unexpected and exciting / alarming (depending on whether you're Kally or her mother) but you do get that satisfied feeling that goodness prevailed in the end. The whole story is exciting and engaging and it's a hard one to put down when you've started.

For what happens when it's a girl who has good and bad sides, have a look at Split By A Kiss while Amazon assures me that 50/50 is also popular with people who enjoyed Hunky Dory.

You can find out more about her other books at the author's website. Thank you to the publishers for supplying this book.

Buy It's a 50/50 Thing by Chris Higgins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy It's a 50/50 Thing by Chris Higgins at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy It's a 50/50 Thing by Chris Higgins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy It's a 50/50 Thing by Chris Higgins at Amazon.com.


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