The blurb says:
When Sam meets a different group of people who immediately accept her as a friend, she begins to feel more positive.
With her new friends and interests, will Sam finally feel able to face the bully who taunts her, and to summon up the courage to perform on stage?
My verdict: a lovely story conveying a clear message about bullying. Girls of around 8 and up will lap this up, absorbing its comfort and advice.
The story told here is charming and engaging. Sam is realistically drawn in her feelings and reactions and it is easy to empathise with her. The bullying is also conveyed realistically, both in terms of the way it builds and the way others react to it. Sam's interaction with the Bullying UK website to get advice is well integrated and clearly demonstrates to any readers in need of their support (or with friends who could use it) that they can be helpful. The novel avoids being overly didactic on what Sam 'should' do about her situation.
Sam's talent and love for singing and drama is a nice touch, which allows for some lighter episodes as well as opportunities for her to develop her confidence. It is important in children's books that the child protagonist solves their own problems and this is particularly difficult in bullying stories, where the best real world advice is to seek adult help and not to fight back. Sam's talent and the increasingly positive feedback she gets for it help her to gain confidence and feel able to begin to take control.
Overall, this sweet story will engage its intended age group, whether or not they have experience of being bullied, but it will be particularly valuable to any girl who is currently being bullied.
Edited to add: Pop back on Monday when Rebecca is celebrating her launch with a blog splash and some exciting competitions!