When I was growing up, one of my favourite authors was Jacqueline Wilson. Any time my Dad ordered books from The Book People I’d always ask for a new book of hers, until it came to a point he just bought me a set to keep me quiet.
I’ve seen stage plays, films and TV shows set on her novels, and loved every second of them. Rather than the light and happy issues most books for young readers focus on, Jacqueline’s books delved a little deeper, with stories featuring domestic abuse, unemployment, divorce and bipolar disorder to mention a few.
It’s no wonder she’s one of the most beloved authors in the UK. Jacqueline told us like it was. These books formed such a huge part of my childhood, it’s hard to believe a lot of them actually pre-date me.
The Bed and Breakfast Star
Elsa’s Mam, siblings Pippa and Hank (the Tank) and (abusive) step-father Mack are forced out of their home when Mack is made redundant. The family are left with no option but to live in a local bed and breakfast, the slightly run down Royal Hotel.
Elsa tries to make light of their troubles by telling jokes to keep everyone’s spirits up (Elsa dreams of being a comedian), but her loud nature that so annoys Mack soon proves rather useful when the Royal Hotel catches fire.
Tracey is probably Jacqueline’s best known and most loved character. The young girl has lived her whole life so far with various foster parents and in numerous care homes, but she still dreams of the day her superstar mother will return to whisk her away to LA.
Tracey has been shown a lot of neglect throughout her life, so how will she react when she meets Cam, who wants to be Tracey’s permanent foster mother?
Ruby and Garnet are identical twins, and live with their widowed father. They’ve all lived in perfect harmony since the death of the twin’s mother – but that’s about to change, as Dad has a new girlfriend.
Double Act was the book that ignited my obsession with twins, and my deep wish I’d been born a multiple birth. The twins are such different characters, Ruby being very dominant and loud while Garnet was quiet and timid. But I was obsessed.
The Illustrated Mum
Dolphin and Star live with their mother Marigold, a woman covered in tattoos. While Star, the typical 14 year old, is a little repulsed by her mother’s behaviour (Marigold suffers from bipolar disorder), Dolphin idolises her mother. When Star meets her Dad and plots to run away with him and get to know him, Marigold slips into a depression that takes a drastic turn.
The Lottie Project
When Charlie runs out of ideas for a school history project, she turns to a photograph she recently saw of a young Victorian girl who is almost her double.
Charlie fabricates the life of Lottie, who is hired as a scullery maid for a wealthy London family. Soon however, some of Lottie’s life starts to merge with Charlie’s.
Charlie’s life also takes a turn when her mother Jo starts a new relationship with Mark, whose son Robin is one of the children Jo minds.