Heart Shaped

Publisher: Hodder Children's Books

Siobhan Parkinson tells the story of Annie in this companion novel to 2011's Bruised. Annie is desperately in love with Jonathan, who may or may not be her boyfriend; relationships are complicated when communication is restricted to text messages and the odd phone call. But suddenly Jono is not answering any texts, and when Annie goes round to investigate she makes a discovery that will change her world entirely.

Annie desperately needs someone to talk to, but with her own mother gone and Jonathan's disappearance preying on her mind her best friend's advice isn't enough. To make matters worse Annie is being pestered by the school bully in a manner that borders on sexual harassment and yet she finds herself in trouble with both the headmaster and her father for what is frustratingly referred to as her inappropriate behaviour. There is always Dr Thing to talk to, but learning to open up might be the hardest thing of all.

Parkinson manages to pack a lot issues into this short book; depression, alcoholism, bullying, social care and grief are all touchedupon, with Annie thankfully retaining love and hope throughout. It's Annie's youthful narrative voice, still side-tracked by girlish fancies of having glossier hair during times of crises that gives this story a bit of spark. This is a lighter take on the darker side of life that will suit young teen readers bridging the gap betweenthe domestic dramas of Jacqueline Wilson and the grittier world of young adult books.

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