The Misper – Bea Davenport

A sympathetic exploration of the difficulties of teenage friendship – torn between being cool and being kind – with an appeal that goes beyond the teenage market.” – Lorna Fitzpatrick

 

Anna’s found the perfect friend in Zoe: she’s cool, she’s smart, she’s goth, she’s gorgeous. If only geeky Kerry would stop hanging around and cramping their style. They’d like to get rid of her. But they should be careful what they wish for…

The Misper by best-selling crime and children’s writer Bea Davenport is a gripping story of obsessive friendships, jealousies, bullying – and the consequences of your actions.

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This is a really gripping book. From almost the first page I was embroiled in Anna’s world and the pace and intrigue never lets up. The scary parts are really scary, the tense parts really tense, and I can tell you I won’t be snooping round any graveyards anytime soon.” – Kate

About the Author

Bea Davenport is the writing name of journalist Barbara Henderson. A print, TV and radio journalist for many years, her work has often inspired her writing.

Bea’s crime/suspense novels, In Too Deep and This Little Piggy were inspired by her years working as a journalist.  She spent 17 years at the BBC before leaving to complete a Creative Writing PhD at Newcastle University.  Her first children’s novel, The Serpent House, was written as part of that PhD. Her second children’s book, My Cousin Faustina, is aimed at reluctant readers and was originally written for Fiction Express.   Fiction Express commission authors to write the first chapter of a book which is delivered to classrooms around the UK and abroad on a Friday afternoon.  At the end of each chapter, the children vote to decide what should happen next, and the new chapter is written based on their decision.

The Misper is Bea’s latest novel and is aimed at YA and adult readers.

Her writing has won several awards, and been shortlisted for many more.

Bea currently lives in Berwick-upon-Tweed in the north of England, with her partner and children.

www.beadavenport.com

The author gets under the skin of the girl fantastically well & makes Anna a completely believable yet sympathetic character.” – Matt JL

Extract

Today’s a new start.

At least, it’s supposed to be all new, but people keep on blurting out the same old stuff.  Fresh page.  Line-in-the-sand.  Put-the-past-behind-you.  It would be a good sign if someone said just one thing I haven’t heard before.  Just one thing, you know?  Surprise me.

It might be new, but it feels old.  All schools smell the same of sweat and Dettol and don’t-wanna-be-here.  The stench wafts out of the reception area.  I’m hovering outside while little groups and cliques wander past me, shaking off the rain, talking and laughing and squealing and all of that.  Some kids turn their heads to stare, but most of them don’t even see me at all.  I turn to see Mum give me the thumbs-up.  She spent about half an hour fussing around me this morning, even straightening my frizzy hair and letting me use a dab of make-up to cover a zit.

Usually she’d say, “It’s only school, Anna, not a catwalk.”  My heavy eyeliner and dark-painted nails are definitely off limits.  Mum wants me to make a good impression.  And she’s going to stand there with that fixed smile, getting wetter and wetter, until I go inside, so I guess I’d better move.  I raise my hand in something like a wave, hold my breath and follow some kids in through the toughened glass doors.

Over and over in my head, I’m thinking what I should tell anyone who asks about my last school or where I used to live.  The thing not to say is that I’m trying to escape.  Or that I’m running away from someone who isn’t even around anymore.

I knew this girl, you see.  A sort of friend.  No one thought she really mattered much, but that turned out to be a mistake.  Because she blew a hole through my life – and the lives of everyone I knew.

Last November 3

It was just after four o’clock in the afternoon and it was pretty dark.  There were smells of gunpowder in the air, because the kids had been setting off fireworks every day since the shops started selling them.  Any day at school was bad enough without Zoe.  And usually any day without Kerry was a good one.  But everything had been off its head today, like a weird dream where everything you think you know is not quite right.  The best parts of the day were when no one was talking to me at all.  The worst parts were when people asked me questions.

Three-thirty couldn’t come quickly enough and I’d part-run, part-walked home so fast I was out of breath.  And there was a police car outside my house.

I stopped dead and took some big mouthfuls of air.  It tasted of fumes, fireworks and frost.  My first thought was to turn and walk away again, in the opposite direction.  I almost did it.  But then I pictured the inside of the house: Mum putting out the best tea cups and searching the cupboard for some good biscuits for the police officers.  She’d have that worry-frown on her horsehead, so deep it hurt me to look at it.  Every minute waiting for me would make it worse.  So I reached for my front door key.  It slipped in my damp hand.

They were the same officers who came round yesterday… and someone else.  The light-haired woman detective and the fat bloke who was her sidekick.  They were just what you see in the films – good cop, bad cop.  I knew how they worked.  She tried to get me to tell her what happened, by pretending to be my friend.  He tried to get me to tell him what happened, by pretending he already knew and that he could see right through me.  They said, “Hello again, Anna.” And I guessed there was no good news.

The woman cop gave me that sympathetic smile.  The fat bloke already had my mum’s china cup in his fat fist and was dunking a biscuit in his tea.  And the circles round my mum’s eyes looked so dark, you’d think she’d drawn them on.  All these things made me feel guilty: her smile, his sneer, Mum’s face.  Even though I didn’t actually do anything.  No good telling that to the cops.  After all, somebody did something to Kerry.  Whatever it was.

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There are some spine-tingling sections which are deliciously sinister, and you might want a handy cushion to hide behind!  With a decidedly dark undertone, The Misper is a captivating, suspense filled tale and ultimately very satisfying indeed.” – Liz Robinson, for LoveReading4Kids

This is billed as young adult literature, but don’t let that put you off. It is a real page turner for older readers too. A compelling story that really captures teenage insecurities and relationships. Was so hooked by it that I wanted to keep on reading and, therefore, read it in a couple of sittings.” – M Logan

 

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