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Nobody wants Tulip in their gang. She skives off school, cheeks the teachers and makes herself unpopular with her classmates by telling awful lies. None of this matters to Natalie who finds Tulip exciting. At first she doesn't care that other peopleare upset and unnerved by Tulip's bizarre games, but as the games become increasingly sinister and dangerous, Natalie realises that Tulip is going too far, much too far, racing, in fact, to the novel's shocking ending.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140378085
ISBN-10: 0140378081
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 11mm)
Pages: 176
Imprint: Puffin
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 27-Feb-1997
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Natalie's parents move around managing small hotels, so she is overjoyed when they decide to stay at The Palace. She befriends a strange-looking girl, whose name is Tulip and whose behaviour is eccentric. Natalie tries to disentangle herself from this dangerous friendship, but knows that Tulip will win in the end. This disturbing and thought-provoking book won the Whitbread Children's Book and was short-listed for the Carnegie Medal. (12 yrs +) (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The author of Alias Madame Doubtfire (1987) and, more recently, Step by Wicked Step (1996) mines a darker vein with this study in malevolence. Exploring the countryside around the elegant old hotel her father is now managing, Natalie first sees Tulip standing in a field holding a kitten; later in school Natalie makes overtures of friendship, not realizing until too late that Tulip is a social outcast and perennial discipline problem as well. Enthralled by Tulip's fearlessly antisocial behavior, Natalie surrenders her will and common sense, playing along in a succession of pranks, cleverly subtle harassment, and quiet, mean games with hair-raising names - Rats in a Firestorm or Road of Bones. In Fine's view, Tulip is to be pitied as much as feared, for her twisted, uncontrolled nature has been molded by an abusive father - but all of the adults in the story come in for a share of the blame, too, aware of Tulip's situation but, beyond handwringing, allowing it to continue. After a game of Wild Nights ends in arson, Natalie finds herself abruptly free of Tulip's spell and breaks off the friendship. Tulip retaliates, and on Christmas Eve, the hotel goes up in flames. Fine expresses with canny precision her protagonist's ambivalence and soul-searching, challenging readers to see how fascinating such repellent behavior can be. A moving, complex story. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Anne Fine

Anne Fine read Politics and History at Warwick and then became a teacher. Her first novel was published in 1975 and today she is one of the UK's most successful children's writers. She has won many awards including two Carnegie Medals, the Guardian Fiction Prize and the Whitbread Prize. GOGGLE-EYES was serialised on TV and MADAME DOUBTFIRE was made into a hit Hollywood movie. Anne lives in County Durham.

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