Title: Val Forrest in the Fifth
Author: Evelyn Smith
Publisher: Girls Gone By Publishers
Year: March 2014
Val Forrest shows Evelyn Smith at the top of her form. Her characters are alive, her dialogue is sparkling and the plot is gripping without being in any way implausible. It tells how Val has to cope with a new school and, worse, with living with an unknown old schoolfellow of her mother's whom she (rightly, as it turns out) finds deeply uncongenial.
How she fits in to the Fifth Form, and befriends the other new girl, spoilt Aileen, is as much part of the plot as the unmasking of Mrs Wilby, all told with the delicate insight and wit which are Evelyn Smith's hallmarks. Val really is up against life, and though the incidents of school life may be relatively trivial they are none the less painful - and we suffer and mature alongside Val.
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