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Catherine Bruton

Billy Elliot meets the X-Factor meets Shameless! A powerful, moving and funny novel for readers of 11+.

I reckon we need a plan that’s so massive it’ll change our lives forever…The first round of auditions was a bit mad. All these wannabe popstars sitting around trying to look wacky/soulful/tragic (delete as appropriate) to catch the attention of the TV cameras. At least we had a cracking back story. The story of me, Agnes, Jimmy and baby Alfie too; the tears, the tragedy, the broken homes and feuding families, the star-crossed lovers. And only some of it was made up. If I say so myself, it was genius: a sure-fire golden ticket to stratospheric stardom. Or at least that was the plan…*


Elfie, Jimmy and Agnes are auditioning for Pop to the Top, a popular TV talent show. Yet they know their parents won’t be happy about this – Elfie and Jimmy’s families hate Agnes’s family, who’ve immigrated and supposedly taken all the jobs away from the locals, who in turn have set up a strike.

Racism flares and conflict arises as the three teens try to win some money to end the strike and help out their families.

If you like Frank Cottrell Boyce’s books, then give this a go. It’s witty, clever and fun.

Katherine Dretzke is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorne.

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