Dancing in the Dark


by P.R.Prendergast
Sensitive, funny and poignant novel of a teenage girl, Jess, coming to terms with the death of her older brother 6 months earlier. But for Jess, her brother James, isn't completely lost to her. He appears to her as a ghost that only she can see and hear - and he's as annoying in death as he was in life! The bickering, squabbling, insult-laden but loving relationship that exists between teenage siblings is depicted with humour and affection and a real understanding of how teenage minds and emotions work. Whilst all this is going on, Jess is trying to focus on practising for the National Schools Dance Competition and earning her place in the team. However, some of the other dancers , for reasons of their own, want her off the team and mount a campaign of bullying against her. But with  help, encouragement  and advice from 'the Dorkster', himself a target of the bullies, her close friend Rhona , and  from her ghostly brother, Jess wins out in the end. This is a wonderful and moving portrayal of a whole family coping with the loss of a loved one. It's not gratuitous. There are no lengthy,  heart-rending descriptions . It's the comments in passing - referring to her parents as the 'shellers' because they are like empty shells that might crack and shatter at any moment - that give a searing insight in to their shared pain. It also loooks at bullying, the fickle nature of some teenage friendships, wanting to belong and be part of the 'in crowd' and all those many angst-ridden issues that can beset so many teenagers - especially girls. Told in the first-person by Jess, the language is sharp, witty and accessible. The text is large and easy-on-the-eye. However, the subject matter makes this a challenging read. There is also a free downloadable teaching guide, written by Peter Heaney, with suggestions for discussion and activities based on the novel. The guide is available from the O'Brien website . Oh, and a great cover too!

Formats available

Paper Back | Teachers Book


Dreams & Aspirations theme | Fiction | Girl Appeal | Issues