Killing the demons ISBN: 9780192751102
Published by O.U.P., 2000
Blaming herself for an accident which killed her baby brother, wheelchair-bound Sam is truculent. To add to Sam's troubles, her father has just got a job in South Wales, and she must adjust to a new life. Her computer is her lifeline. With it she can be anyone, do anything, and she regularly kills game demons with her skills. Her supportive parents try hard to understand her needs, but their cynical, tough daughter is often beyond their reach. Angharad, a girl of Sam's age, comes round to offer help as part of her Good Citizen's Prize, and while the beginning of their friendship is rocky, they shake down together in an odd way. School is not a great success. Sam's difficulties in getting around and the unkindness of other youngsters are detailed, as well as her temper when things go wrong. Also, there are two boys, who set out to make life difficult for her - really unsavoury sorts. At a local youth club for the disabled, Sam and Angharad meet Lucy, also wheelchair bound, and Pete, who is doing community service as part of his jail sentence. This bizarre quartet carry out a daring plan to take Lucy to the zoo where she can see her first real elephant. In helping Lucy, Sam helps herself to wider experiences too, and when she stops Angharad's brother from joy-riding with the two thugs from school and thereby saves him from another terrible accident, she comes to know that she was not to blame for the first one. There is no happy ending. One knows that Sam will always be touchy, that help will not be easily accepted, but she is also a survivor. The girls are 15, but their interests are not particularly teen-agey, and the book should appeal to younger readers. Excellent on Sam's inner tensions.