Fury by Shirley Marr
Black dog books, 2010. ISBN 9781742031323.
(Ages 14+) With Lizzie in custody for murder, and the interviewer, a social anthropologist making deals with her to retell some of her story; I found it hard to keep reading. Here was the cliched 'poor little rich girl' playing with the interviewer, telling him and therefore us of her very odd life, relating events at her very expensive and posh private school, surrounded with luxury and ease, and making outrageous comments about other people, particularly those at her school. Here was a character that I loathed, but the intrigue of the murder and her reticence at revealing anything about the incident, kept me reading for a while longer.
To keep myself attuned to the story, I listened to the author, Shirley Marr tell of the background to writing the book, and I found this was enough to entice me back to the printed page. But the girl still did not thrill me. She and her two friends, Marianne and Lexie, grudgingly accept a new girl, Ella, into their tight friendship group. The ups and downs of school life are revealed, with jostling for position with the cool stakes high on the agenda. Some hints are given of lust triangles developing between parties and hints are also given of past friendships and rivalries, while glimpses into the girls' motives are slowly revealed. The families of these indolent girls are facsimiles of cliched uncaring wealthy parents, leaving their children at the drop of a hat while they pursue their own interests. The absent parents, combined with unsympathetic teachers, allow the reader to develop some sympathy for the girls.
As time passes, the interviewer gets Ella to reveal more and more, until finally we hear of the events at Jane's party, which initiate the murder. But still, Ella is coy about what she reveals, and the last few chapters must be read carefully as they are fast paced. Despite their efforts to get help from family, teachers and friends, the events over the next two weeks shows them taking things into their own hands, with disastrous consequences. Middle secondary girls will lap up the background of the private school and the vacuous lives of these very rich girls, initially picking up the book because of its stunning cover. That it is a murder will be enough to entice many readers, and I loved the play on names from Austen and the Brontes.