Dancing in the Dark ISBN: 9781847171856
Published by O'Brien Press Ltd, 2010
This is a ghost story. Jessie's older brother, James, a rugby star at school and all-round popular guy, has been killed while riding his bike. Jessie's family is completely gutted, her parents particularly so. Jessie and James have had a difficult teenage relationship, and when James's ghost appear to her, they resume their jokey, quarrelsome back chat. Gradually we realise that James is in a kind of limbo and is lonely. Jessie is also lonely, not only because of her brother's death, but also because all but one of her school friends, members of a dance team, have become seriously nasty. Jessie is a born dancer, but her self-esteem has taken such a blow by their bullying that she is only too willing to sit on the bench. A new boy in school, a bit of a nerd, wants to be friendly and ends up a considerable support, as does Rhona, Jessie's only friend. James's ghost is also a great support, and at the end of the story, the bullies are vanquished, Jessie has proved her brilliance at dance, and James has made friends in the other world and will no longer be appearing to Jessie. The themes of letting go, of guilt, and of the healing nature of time are all important.