There is something seductive about Julie Myerson’s novels and this, her seventh, is no exception. The first-person narrator, Flynn, is thirteen. She has an absent father, a difficult teenage brother, a little sister, and a mother who is trying to hold things together. On the first page we fall for Flynn, who seems to be trying to do the right thing and who is somewhat ignored as her mother struggles to cope with her toddler, Anna, and her bloody-minded, destructive son, Sam. When Flynn meets a stranger in her family’s unkempt garden, she is intrigued. ‘I kept on telling myself he was just a normal boy, nothing special, but basically I’d never wanted to stare at a boy so much.’
Alex, fifteen, turns out to be a runaway, living in a shed several fields away, with sixteen-year-old Diana, Diana’s new-born baby and Mouse, a disturbed six-year-old who has already exhausted a string of foster parents. Flynn and her surly brother Sam – a brilliant portrait by Myerson – join them.