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Hangman ISBN: 9780006754183
Jarman, Julie
Published by Collins, 2000

Danny is unusual. He doesn't react to things like other pupils in year 7. His hair is different, he is obsessive about his special interests, he says things in ways none of the other children would, and he is something of a swot. He changes schools because things have gone badly in his old school, but his hope that Toby, who used to be his friend in infant school, will be his friend again is dashed. Toby doesn't want to know. He feels guilty about this, but sees only too well that being a friend to Danny would spell disaster to his other friendships. The story is told from several viewpoints: from Toby's, from Danny's and from the really vicious bullies that make Danny's life a misery. The relentless nature of their persecution is compared with the Nazi persecution of the Jews, particularly when on a school trip to see the D-Day battlefields of France, Danny comes close to suicide when Nick and his gang (Toby included, though unwillingly) play a particularly cruel trick. All of the eleven year olds must come to terms with their guilt, and Danny moves to yet another school. One doubts he will ever be happy. Strong language and tough realism make this not everyone's cup of tea, but there are too many Dannys in the world whose needs must be met for this appallingly real story not to be heard.
Age: 11+