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GILLIAN CROSS
Chartbreak


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Penguin, London, 1988
(price: 2.99; 192 pages)
first published by Oxford University Press 1986


The blurb on the back:

'Right. Get this. While you're in the band, you're called Finch. Because I say so. And you don't sing a note until you've got the sound of the band in your blood.'
When Janis Finch storms out after a family row, all she means to do is spend an hour or so drinking coffee in a motorway café. But then Rollo, Dave, Job and Christie walk into her life. They are Kelp, a rock band travelling to a gig, and Christie is their charismatic and demanding lead singer. An evening spent in their company is just the beginning of an exciting new life for Janis in the dynamic and hardworking world of the rock music scene.


opening lines:
Oh sure, you know exactly what happened in the very beginning.
You know and I know and the vicarandthepostmanandthewindowcleaner and the whole WORLD know the story.


Gillian Cross is one of the most successful writers for children in the country, mainly because she's damn good at her job. This isn't one of her biggest books but - like the others - it's sharp, well-written and doesn't patronise its readers. The story is the showbiz standard of a band on the rise to fame and fortune, but it has details realistic enough to carry the whole thing off, and there are occasional interruptions from articles clipped from Smash Hits and Sounds, which break the narrative quite nicely.

It's all thoroughly professional and - in due course, as 1986 becomes ever more remote - this is going to acquire some historical atmosphere. Already it's so far removed from modern pop that it wouldn't make any sense to today's kids, but we don't care about them much on this site.

still life


ARTISTIC MERIT: 3/5
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE:
3/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT:
1/5


visit Gillian Cross' website
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