Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan

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Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
Reviewed by Linda Lawlor
Summary: Joseph is being pestered by the imaginary friend who really belongs to one of the kids next door. But these days having such a voice in your head is dangerous, so unless he can prove Klaris didn't do all the bad things she's being blamed for, then Joseph is for the Cosh. And that's not good at all. . . Nikki Sheehan popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: February 2014
Publisher: OUP
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780192735720

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Joseph is a thoroughly ordinary kid. He and his dad get on pretty well, in a teasing, blokish sort of way, and they both admit openly how much they miss Joseph's mother. She'd been suffering from depression on and off for ages and went away for a much-needed holiday a couple of years previously. Her postcards said she was feeling much better and would definitely be home before the end of the summer, but she broke her promise: she never came back. Joseph imagines every day what it will be like when she eventually returns. Still, there's a big untidy, unruly family next door including Joseph's best friend Rocky, so he never needs to be lonely. So far so good: a contemporary, cheerful story about a likeable young teen. But there's one sinister element in this everyday world.

In our reality, experts are of the opinion that imaginary friends are a good thing. They provide companionship for lonely kids and they fade away as children grow up and make flesh-and-blood relationships. But in Joseph's world, things are different. These 'friends' are evil creatures which creep into children's minds if they allow themselves to play make-believe games, and, even more worrying, they can migrate from person to person. People believe that they are the cause of all manner of destruction and mayhem, especially since the terrible massacre at Shorefield. From that time, the cure for imaginary friends has been pretty straightforward: protect the population from any more danger by taking the afflicted host child to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible. There surgeons can laser out the part of the brain which is the root of the problem: a quick, relatively pain-free operation called the Cosh. Of course, once that's done, the child will never imagine anything ever again, but it's a small price to pay.

The scariest stories are the ones which happen in a reality so close to your own that you find yourself standing at the window keeping a close eye on the neighbours for days after you've finished the book. Is that guy a shape-shifter, or has he just been on a crash diet? Were her eyes really that startling shade of blue before the holidays? Could any terrestrial dog really be that slobbery? Ms Sheehan has created a world which is utterly convincing in its ordinariness, full of occasionally gross boy-humour and the fragile awakenings of adolescence. Joseph and Rocky could be any two lads in your street or school, their sister Pooh (yes, it's an odd name, but she doesn't seem to mind) is down-to-earth and scathing about her male siblings without being a cliché, and the five-year-old twins are as bizarre as any two small boys can be. It's a well written book, with a twisting, complex plot that will leave you gasping at the end, but the chapters are short and sufficiently full of fun and action to make them easy to read. The premise is intriguing and highly original, and amid the laughs it will really make you think about the nature of imagination. Well worth reading.

There's no actual magic in the extremely popular Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead, but it is equally well written and also deals with young teenage boys trying to solve a mystery.

Buy Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan at Amazon.com.


Booklists.jpg Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan is in the Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2014.
Bookinterviews.jpg Nikki Sheehan was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

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