Bad Hair Days, by JM Forster (author of The Shadow Jumper)
This book was put forward for all sorts of awards, so I must admit I chose it thinking it might be more hype than substance. However, I was immediately gripped. Mallow (14) has a great deal to cope with. She has alopecia (something that has affected a member of our family, so I know something of the distress caused) and wears wigs to cover it up. If that isn’t enough, she is also faced with being bullied and having to move schools. A new town, a new school, a new start... or so she thinks. She is desperate to keep her secret, but when she starts to receive creepy texts, she realises that someone else must know. The thought of everyone finding out, drives her into a determined search for the identity of the person behind the messages. Unfortunately, she can’t be sure of anyone and this compounds her loneliness.
This is a well-written and sensitive book about issues surrounding hair loss. It’s tied in with important themes on family, friendship and coping with life in general. There are also valid observations on bullying and social media. In fact, it’s all about the problems and stresses of modern life mixed with an intriguing mystery. It has had a lasting impact on me and is a great read for 11+ (perhaps girls more than boys). Teens will love it and I think parents will benefit from reading it too.
There are some major themes in this book, so it’s not for the very young (no matter what their reading age or ability). On that basis, we give this a Yellowbird rating of 5 out of 5 Yellowbirds: