Jelly ISBN: 9781848126732
Published by Picadilly Press, 2018
Angelica or Jelly as she is known, is an eleven year old with problems. On the surface, she seems to be happy-go-lucky and makes all her friends laugh. She’s a brilliant mimic of teachers, and her classmates thoroughly enjoy her antics the teachers less so, although they recognise her talent. But Jelly is a large girl, and her funny persona is a way of hiding the hurt she often feels when her weight is made fun of. Her friends don’t mean to be unkind, and the fact that she herself plays on her size means that they feel she accepts herself. Underneath it all, she is hurt, and this makes her eat more than she knows is good. The further problem in her life is her mother. The two are very close, but mum, who also has her own complexes to deal with, is not good at choosing her men folk, and the partners that come home are often not at all nice, either to Jelly or her mum. Jelly writes poetry, but no one knows this, not even mum, and the book she writes her poems in is carefully hidden. Make no mistake, this author is a very talented poet, and the poems she composes for Jelly are superb. Furthermore, they make clear Jelly’s problems in ways that nothing else can. The story is made up of Jelly’s school life, her life at home with mum (and assorted boyfriends), a meeting with a man that will change both their lives, and the big talent contest at school that Jelly hopes to win with her talent for mimic. She has good friends who are supportive and loving, but she also has a grandfather who is horrid and dismissive the source of many of her mother’s problems too. Jelly starts her periods towards the end of the book, and this is described in some detail - which will be of real interest to girls in these formative years. Jelly grows up a great deal though the story, and she and her mum get their happy ending - for which we rejoice! Well written and absorbing, a real page-turner.