It is nearly three years since we read J.M. Forster’s award-winning Shadow Jumper. Shadow Jumper is a great read and both of my sons and I thoroughly enjoyed the story, a thrilling adventure of Jack, a teenager who suffers from a light-sensitive condition who is on the search for his missing father. It is a real page-turner and perfect for kids aged 10 – 14. You can read my review of Shadow Jumper here.
J.M. Forster’s new book is called Bad Hair Days, which makes it immediately appealing as we all get too many of those, don’t we?
For the main character Mallow, every single day is a bad hair day as she suffers from hair loss. She hides her condition by wearing a wig, but having alopecia that wasn’t bad enough, she has had to move schools as she was bullied at the last one. When Mallow starts receiving creepy messages, it becomes clear that someone knows her secret and the mystery begins to try and find out who is sending the messages.
Mallow is so wrapped up in trying to keep her secret, that she doesn’t always appreciate the people who are trying to help her. Her mother is spending her spare time and money trying to find treatments to help Mallow regrow her hair. Her best friend Trude is busy trying to distract her with plans to start a new business and Dan, the mysterious boy from school seems to like Mallow and she likes him too but is too scared that he will discover her secret.
With the pressure mounting and the Year 9 ball fast approaching, Mallow’s anxiety results in her pushing everyone away and taking desperate measures to try and stop her secret from getting out.
Can Mallow really stop her everyone else finding out about her secret?
Bad Hair Days is a really beautifully written book and is another page-turner. It has the mystery of who is sending the messages and it is a real nail-biting climax. But in between the mystery, is a tale about friendship, family, the effects of bullying and about dealing with being different. Mallow is a really likeable character and as you read the book, you want her to come to terms with her condition and have the happy ending she deserves.
J.M. Forster has a real knack for choosing interesting protagonists and in the case of Mallow dealing with alopecia, not only makes the story interesting, it adds another dimension to the book showing the reader how it feels to be different from everyone else. It also gives an important message that in a world where looks are so important, it is what is on the inside that really matters.