Eddie Beale looks after his friends, as long as they entertain him. When he takes notice of Ashley, she is happy to put on a show and be part of the excitement. Then she realizes someone is stalking her and leaving messages that get uglier. Can Eddie help? And if he does, what price will she pay?
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Author Gillian Cross is no stranger to writing prize-winning fiction novels for teenage readers. With her latest novel, Tightrope, she has come up with another sharply observed, concisely written thriller that easily matches the superb high standards set by previous works, Wolf and The Great Elephant Chase.
Combining viewpoints from the book's major and minor characters, Cross enlivens a complex tale set amidst an urban community controlled by an old-fashioned gangster. With tell-tale skill and precision, the author gets deep under the skin of Ashley--the teenage protagonist who falls victim to both a stalker and the powerful, community bully. Revolting against the restraints placed on her by her mother's acute illness, it is understandable why Ashley feels the need for her alternative existence as Cindy, a graffiti painter. Unfortunately, her imaginative night-time work is not as invisible as she would like to think.
Eddie Beale, ringmaster of his own local circle of dubious cronies, takes a shine to Ashley's artistic talents. He invites her into his underworld and provides her mother with the care she so desperately needs. Ashley repays Eddie's help by entertaining him with athletic circus tricks. It's only when she calls on him directly to help her deal with a threatening stalker that Ashley realises that she's now too involved and too indebted to this equally deadly character.
Tightrope is a classy piece of writing that is difficult to put down. The characters and plot draw you in and the thrilling climax delivers everything the rest of the book promises. It's Gillian Cross at her best. (Age 11 and over) --John McLay
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Book Description Penguin, London, 2000. Plastic Case. Book Condition: Good. 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. A little shelf wear to the outer case, slight yel;lowing to its edges and a 4cm split on its side. The tapes themselves are in good condition. All my products are carefully packed and I make every effort to despatch orders the same day. If you have any questions regarding this item please do not hesitate to ask. A photograph is readily available upon request. Bookseller Inventory # 012224