Starring Sammie ISBN: 9780192752475
Published by O.U.P. (After School Club series), 2003
Sammie in year 5 comes from a seriously dysfunctional family. Her dad has left, and feckless mum spends her evenings at discos, trying to attract another man. Sammie desperately wants to go to the After School Club, and when mum finally lets her, she finds it to be all she expected and begins to make friends. School is a problem, Sammie being a slow learner and stuck on the yellow table with others in her ability group. When the whole class starts earning sponsor money for Children in Need, Sammie tells a whopping lie: that she has earned £100 for her sponsored silence. In fact, she only has £50, and that has been 'borrowed' by mum to buy a fancy pair of boots. When she finds popular girl Brody's purse with her £100 sponsor money, she turns it in as her own, even though she is fundamentally honest. Her family problems and some very unfortunate teasing at school goad her into dishonesty. She does confess at the last minute, and her new-found friends and her teacher forgive. Her parents remain losers, but she begins to learn to talk to her two older sisters, and there is hope that the three of them will make something of themselves. An easily read, short novel with a believable 'voice'.