SPECIAL

Bella Bathurst

A group of teenage schoolgirls are on a field trip to the Forest of Dean. Vain, spoilt and interested primarily in sex, alcohol and outfits, the girls squabble and smoke, skive and bitch, torment their teachers and betray their friends, and the reader bears witness to the development and disintegration of relationships. So far, so typical. But this world of teenagers is a hall of mirrors, where the everyday can become monstrous, and nothing is quite what you expect. Soon enough something dark and sinister begins to move underneath the surface.

Special is a work of brilliance and insight. At times it’s like reading an anthropological text on a strange, distant tribe, while at others it feels uncomfortably familiar – but I have to say I’ve never come across a book that makes me so glad to be grown-up’ Daily Telegraph

‘Sinister and menacing’ Patricia Duncker, Books of 2002, New Statesman

‘A brilliant and disturbing take on underoccupied teenage girls’ Maggie O’Farrell, Books of 2002, Observer

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