Linda Newbery - No Way Back. PDF

PDF No Way Back by Linda Newbery is about Ellie's first term in Year 9, and the problems she encounters with fellow schoolmates. It is a gentle, even slight tale about dealing with friends who seem to grow up faster than you, misplaced loyalties and realising that the world isn't always a fair place. Newbery has written her story sensitively and with attention to detail, but Ellie isn't a character to immediately catch the imagination—doing well at school, but not brilliantly; always doing her homework on time and sometimes enjoying it; likes helping out at the local stables but can't afford a horse of her own; has a crush on her best friend's brother but ultimately shy with boys—as is a made clear, a bit of a goody-two-shoes who is keen to hold onto her childhood. However, she is likable and although her ordinary story (with accompanying ordinary cosy nuclear family and ordinary comprehensive-school lessons) does not offer exciting horizons and aspirations it does offer a sense of familiarity, with the minutiae of school life taking up most of the narrative. Newbery attempts to draw a comparison between the involuntary plight of Ellie's friend Amanda's older brother and Ellie's own reaction to a girl's self-imposed situation at school, making that comparison the crux, or perhaps lesson, of the novel. But the ending feels anticlimactic and the events of the past months fade into the past as quickly as they happened so that one is left wondering if life will carry on as ordinarily as it always has done for Ellie. —Olivia Dickinson

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