Angel Cake by Cathy Cassidy
|Angel Cake by Cathy Cassidy|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: A subtle call for inclusion from Cathy Cassidy in a story about a Polish girl in Liverpool. Unashamedly girly and full of of warmth and human interest.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: July 2009|
When she was still in Poland, Anya used to dream of Britain, imagining it to be so much more glamorous a place than her own home. But when she finally moves to Liverpool to rejoin her father and begin a new life with her family, she's in for a rude awakening. It rains all the time. They live in a poky flat above a fish and chip shop. She can't understand the accent. School is more like a zoo than a sedate educational institution. And nasty girl Lily Caldwell takes an instant dislike to her.
It's no surprise Anya is homesick. Added to all this, her father's business isn't going so well and money problems cast a blight on the family. So when she meets bad boy Dan, she really should look the other way. But Anya is sure there's a soft side to him, and the feelings he stirs up in her are just about the only thing she has to hold onto...
I do like Cathy Cassidy. She's like Jacqueline Wilson, I think - it's all such a breeze to read and enjoy. If I were a tween or early teen girl, I'd read every book she brought out. She never patronises, she's always bang on the money in terms of the emotional landscape, and she doesn't fob off her readers with bubblegum plots. Here, she's talking about the social issue of immigration and the teen issue of fitting in. She melds them together perfectly and subtly gives readers pause for thought about a hot topical issue, but it's by osmosis almost, because we're fixed on Anya herself. And we really do want her to have a happy ending.
The prose is relaxed and confident. It's easy to read but not simplistic and the teen thought processes are immediately recognisable to the reader. Cassidy has a real ear for dialogue and it shows. Angel Cake was apparently inspired by a real Polish girl, who really did write vividly about her first day at school in the UK and this book is vivid too. It has great energy but also a good deal of clear-eyed kindness and common sense about it. Cassidy is a very popular author and you really can see why.
You even get a recipe for Angel Cake at the end. What more could you want?
My thanks to the nice people at Puffin for sending the book.
It's a 50/50 Thing by Chris Higgins and My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson both have British central characters, but who are also catapulted into unfamiliar environments. I think they'd also enjoy The Exiles by Hilary McKay.
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