Hannah's Secret (The Beautiful Game) by Narinder Dhami

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Hannah's Secret (The Beautiful Game) by Narinder Dhami

Buy Hannah's Secret (The Beautiful Game) by Narinder Dhami at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Enjoyable kitchen sink drama about sibling rivalry hooked around the members of a girl's football team. Easy to read but also great fun.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Orchard
ISBN: 140830421X

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Hannah has a secret. She knows she has to come clean with her parents sooner rather than later, but the time just never seems quite right. There's the intensive football course to enjoy first, and she's been looking forward to it for so long that she doesn't want to spoil it with a big family row. Annoyingly though, there's a big family row anyway. Hannah's spoiled and obnoxious half-sister, Olivia, has a falling out with her mother and announces she wants to come to live with her father ... and Hannah. Not good.

And that's not all that makes Hannah want to delay admitting her secret. She and her fellow team members at the Springhill Stars have a few internal issues that need ironing out - one minute they're all getting on like a house on fire, and the next they're at one another's throats. And she really has got to do something about her pushy father, who heckles her constantly from the touchline and is single-handedly ruining her game.

Narinder Dhami knows exactly what she's doing with this cheerful little book, first in a planned series concentrating on each member of the Springhill Stars team in turn. She's one of the authors on the hugely popular Daisy Meadows series, and she also wrote Bend it Like Beckham, so you can see she's perfect for a series about football-loving tweens. And she does deliver.

Hannah's Secret is bright and bouncy and easy to read. There's a secret to discover, but you don't have to wait too long for the reveal. There's plenty of football action, but not enough to leave readers wanting more of the girly stuff. There's a keen eye turned on sibling rivalry, pushy parents, and the sometimes explosive dynamic you see in a group of tween girls. Fireworks fly almost every time the Springhill Stars get together. Hannah herself is a great character - beset by doubts and insecurities, but coming up trumps when the cards are down. Her mistakes are instantly recognisable, as are her desperate efforts to put them right.

It's not going to set the world alight, this series, but it's not intended to. It's going to provide enjoyable easy reading for a whole swathe of tomboyish pre-teen girls who are more interested in footie than lip gloss - but are prepared to give lip gloss a minor chance during the off season. And there are a lot of them.

My thanks to the nice people at Orchard for sending the book.

Boys and football is similarly covered in Tom Palmer's Football Academy series. Runaway Success by S W Parry is about the children of a famous footballer. Ginger Snaps by Cathy Cassidy is talking to the same early teenage group equally successfully. You might also enjoy Flember: The Secret Book by Jamie Smart.

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Buy Hannah's Secret (The Beautiful Game) by Narinder Dhami at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hannah's Secret (The Beautiful Game) by Narinder Dhami at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Hannah's Secret (The Beautiful Game) by Narinder Dhami at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hannah's Secret (The Beautiful Game) by Narinder Dhami at Amazon.com.


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