by Jacqueline Wilson (Random House, $34.99)
Reviewed by Sophie Robinson
Do you like lollies? Opal Plumstead certainly did… until she was forced to work in a lolly factory. You see, Opal’s father wants to be an author. He writes a manuscript and sends it off to the publishers, who say they are interested in perhaps accepting his book. He thinks the publishers will say yes, and pay him lots of money, so he takes the family out to celebrate. They spend a lot of money celebrating … so when the publisher says ‘no’ to the manuscript, Opal’s father has a big pile of bills to somehow pay back. In desperation he steals from his employer to pay the outstanding bills, but gets caught out.
Opal then has to leave her posh school, and her scholarship, to work in the Fairy Glenn Sweet Factory, making fondant moulds. Opal’s older sister has an apprenticeship at a hat shop, and offers to leave to find a higher-paying job to support the family, but her mother won’t let her. So it’s all up to Opal. The story follows Opal as she grows into a young woman starting out in the world.