The International Writers Magazine
:Childrens Fiction

Turbulence By Jan Mark
ISBN: 0 340 86099 5
Hodders Childrens Books
Gemma Roxane Williams review

ake one perfectly normal teenage girl, mix in the craziness of family life, add an insanely early paper round and sprinkle in a witty narrative. Finish it off with a splattering of old school film references and you have a witty, entertaining book that will have you walking down the high street turning pages (don’t think I’m joking, I almost hit a lamppost!)

A rollercoaster ride of everyday life, kicked off with an early morning paper round, ending in a good western in her dads ‘studio’ aka shed! Aside from her little sister, who is hard to find, buried under a pile of make up and all things spangley from Claire’s accessories, and her brother who refuses to make contact with anyone unless its via text; a perfectly normal family. Well, unless you count her hippy gran, and her obsession with zombie films. Ok, so Clays family are at least kind of normal; until mum invites a stranger over to dinner.. Then things spiral out of control and everyday life becomes far from ordinary!

Jan Mark keeps the action interesting, through the viewpoint of self-professed gorilla (she got the big boned, heavy powerful gene, unlike her marmoset mum) Clay. From that lucky vantage point of being a head above the masses, the action unfolds as routine and order are replaced with chaos; the moment Clay’s mum invited Sandor and Ali Harker over for dinner. These strange newcomers overtake the lives of everyone around them in their soap-opera lives… until it all comes to a head, the question is: will life ever be the same again?

Turbulence is an entertaining whirlwind, but amidst the laughs and heart pounding suspense and intrigue, Jan Mark throws in some truly touching father-daughter moments, some beautifully crafted poetic reflections and some heart stoppingly accurate observations. Watching the thrilling action though the eyes of teenager, Clay, makes what could have been a very mature concept, accessible to all. And just so that we don’t get bored, Jan Mark switches from Clay’s reflection to reporter style conversation sporadically, adding a genuine feel to this zealous cyclone.

So, Jan Mark’s Turbulence is a witty, exciting, page turner of a story. If you don’t fall in love with Clay, detest Sandor and want to shake Rosie by the end of it, you’ve been reading the book upside down! You’ll be able to quote away like true film buff by the end of this book; although I warn you: you may become very wary of strangers and possibly feel the need to take up a morning paper round! Well worth reading.
And watch out for those Canadians!

© Gemma Roxanne Williams November 2005
Roxy is a Creative Writing major at the University of Portsmouth

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