Monday, 20 December 2010

Fame School: #14 Trick or Treat by Cindy Jefferies

August 2010, Usborne 
144 pages, Paperback
Review copy 

Children's, 8+ 

School life, music - joys and trials, friendship - misunderstandings and growth, perseverance, celebration, 

Summary from Usborne
Talent, stardom, hard work and heartache ... welcome to Fame School!

Getting a place at Rockley Park, school for talented young performers, involves struggle and sacrifice, and that's just the beginning! Life at Rockley Park is packed full of new friends, potential enemies, crises and triumphs.

Danny’s drumming is going badly, so to cheer him up Chloe and her talented friends at Rockley Park decide to treat him to a surprise Halloween party. But there are some spooky things going on that no one can explain. Is somebody playing tricks – or is Fame School really haunted? Whatever happens, Danny’s in for a wail of a time.

Nayuleska's Thoughts
Look at the purple cover! It's pretty :) There is much more to this book than a nice cover. The students are in the mood for playing tricks, so there are some ghosts about the school. However, there is one ghost who no-one can explain - they deny being anywhere near the corridor. I did slightly regret reading this after dusk - I was a little freaked out by it, but not for long. I'm wondering whether the ghost will appear in the future books, and maybe more will be learnt about it. 

The main issue of the story is Danny. He's a brilliant drummer, and has been given a piece to play by his teacher. However he can't do it. Now, initially I was thinking 'he just needs to practice'. However, he is practicing - that's all he ever does. He doesn't take breaks, he's getting more frustrated at the lack of progress and isn't feeling himself at all. I think most readers can relate to this in some way or another. Everyone has something where they temporarily (it can be a few minutes, days, weeks or even months) lose enthusiasm, lose motivation, hit a brick wall etc.

Danny's feelings are fully explored, and I felt really sorry for him. It makes all areas of his life a misery - including his upcoming birthday. Understandably he gets grumpy because all his friends are off doing different things and not spending all the day with him. This is resolved when he finds out that they were arranging the surprise party. During these preparations, his friends - especially Chloe try to figure out what is wrong with Danny. Eventually he explains exactly what the piece of music is about, and it is really tricky. However, a suggestion gets made to him and it helps him figure out what to do. I think this goes to show that bottling things up is never a good thing, and sometimes the person involved needs a different perspective (and a break!) to help them overcome the hurdle. 

Final conclusion 
As well as the mystery ghost which is on the prowl, TRICK OR TREAT delves accurately into the psyche of someone with talent, who suddenly finds themselve unable to progress and actually start to get worse. 

There are plenty other books in the Fame School series to check out Cindy Jefferies website

For other school books, check out School Friends (including Party at Silver Spires) by Ann Bryant and Skate School (Ice Princess, On Thin Ice, Stars on Ice and Going For Gold) by Kay Woodward, all about students trying their hardest in all areas of their life. 

No comments: