Review by Kevin Berry
Meggie Blackthorn is a spirited, intelligent eleven-year-old who goes to live with her grandparents so she can attend the grammar school for which she has earned a place. The story is set in the area of Newcastle, England, in the early 1960s, and the author brings this period to life brilliantly with lots of detail seamlessly woven in. It’s very easy to warm quickly to young Meggie, whose life has changed completely by going to live with her grandparents and attending a new school. She makes some new friends but also has to cope with a threatening bully, Billy Fish, who is the son of an unpleasant woman working in her grandfather’s shop. The story is well-paced and well-structured with an element of suspense in it.
I particularly liked how that time (60s northern England) was brought vividly to life in this story, and how real and believable Meggie as a character was portrayed. The story is told consistently from her point of view. All of the main characters were portrayed well with their own personalities. Although it’s a young adult, coming-of-age book, I feel it would appeal also to an older generation who would like to be reminded of a bygone era.