The Ant Colony
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Sam, a teenager, has left his home in the remote countryside to seek anonymity in London. Bohemia keeps her alcohol- and drug-dependent mother out of major trouble as she drifts between boyfriends.
Isabel, old and apparently confused, actually oversees the lives of all those living in the run-down flats, and befriends both young people.
Sam and Bo reveal their pasts in alternate chapters, each gradually facing the dysfunctional relationships and traumatic incidents which have triggered their current unlikely friendship.
Funny, shocking and gripping, this thought-provoking novel addresses many societal issues.
Valentine's novels are noted for her depiction of unexpected intergenerational relationships, a theme which she expands here to involve major characters aged from seven to over seventy.