Every time a new Jacqueline Wilson book arrives, there is always a small part of every reviewer that dreads opening the book in case this time the author has missed the mark. But as yet, Wilson has never disappointed either the critics or her customers, and with Vicky Angel she once again pulls a little magic out of the hat and delivers another stunning novel with her trademark sensitivity and panache.
Jade and Vicky are best friends, but when Vicky is killed in an accident she doesn’t let a little old thing like being dead interfere with her life. Instead, she continues as normal, following Jade around, telling her what to do, how to think, how to behave and ruining any chance Jade may have to make new friends. Eventually Jade tires of it all, and although she still loves Vicky deeply, she realises she has to get on with her own life.
Once again, Wilson digs deep and delves into tricky territory with a tenacity that at first shocks; but within a few minutes the shock subsides and the reader is drawn into Jade’s world, willing her to come to terms with Vicky’s death and praying that she will soon find her own way.
As ever, Wilson’s characters are beautifully observed, and the story is filled to the brim with an emotional truth that is awe inspiring and captivating. Jade’s response to Vicky’s death, her realisation that the pedestal on which Vicky was placed during her short life was not as stable as she first believed and the ultimate release from the burden of guilt and love are dealt with with a sleight of hand that allows the reader to become completely involved with the story without a hint of darkness, captured instead by a lightness of touch that can only serve to make Wilson’s peers green with envy.
The Illustrated Mum was the absolute best. Vicky Angel, a sort of Truly, Madly, Deeply for kids, runs an extraordinarily tight second. (Age 8 and over) —Susan Harrison