Pages - 318
Published by Headline in 2011
Something, or someone, shifted in the dark, just moving weight from one foot to the other. If she'd not been searching for it she wouldn't have noticed the slight twitch of the inky black shadow beneath the fire escape, but a twitch was all it took. OK. He was there, waiting for her. The Mole. She closed her fist a little tighter around the reassuringly smooth mother of pearl handle in her pocket and took a step into the alley. Away from the brash, neon-lit street, the darkness now closed around her, pressing against her body like a heavy coat.
Reality can never quite compare with the online world of Demon Streets for Verity. There she gets to learn new demon fighting skills and have fun. In reality she goes to school to learn useless skills and her fashion designer mother, Saffron Fibbs, is operating punishment by chores (for a small boy related misdemeanor). As ethical is the new black when it comes to fashion, Verity's mum's recycled fashion venture is the hottest thing ever and she has to go to New York to publicize it giving Verity three days of total freedom! But someone else is just as keen to see Saffron Fibbs leave home and when V and her friends find themselves on the wrong side of a very unethical enemy it seems that her online gaming skills might be the only thing between her and a very real Game Over...
Ah Cathy Brett does it again! I love reading Cathy's books. Her mind definitely works differently to other authors and she creates her own unique story reflecting the real world. Verity Fibbs has to be described as 'Absolutely Fabulous turned on its head with a handful of demons.' If you loved the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, you will love this book. However the roles between mother and daughter are the right way around in this book, unlike the series - Saffron is the maternal, sensible mother who works hard to create an ethical fashion label, whilst Verity just creates havoc with her lies and has a nose for trouble.
Verity is the biggest fibber I have ever met in a book. If she were Pinocchio, her nose would be longer than the Great Wall of China. Seriously, she tells some huge whoppers which end up putting her in the same position as the boy who cried 'Wolf'! When she needs everyone to believe her, they all roll their eyes and take everything she says with a pinch of salt. She has to work really hard to get them to start believing in her and help to save her future. There is a moral hidden within this gem of a story - don't lie!
Verity certainly met her match when she ran into Mikko. He can lie just as well as she can, in fact I would say he would win in the lying stakes. These two kids were definitely made for each other and it was lovely to watch as their new found friendship blossomed into something more as they realised just how much they needed each other.
One of the reasons why I love Cathy's work so much is because of her amazing talents as an illustrator. The book is peppered with beautiful drawings such as the one above and below, which make this book really attractive to the reluctant reader market. I have said this a hundred times before and I will say it again - if you have reluctant teenage girl readers, then give them a Cathy Brett book to read!
Another thing that I love about Cathy's books is her main characters. They always have a quirkiness to their nature. They are always flawed in someway by a teenage characteristic that makes them stand out from the crowd.
The book has two threads to the story. On one side we see Verity as she really is and then on the other we see her alter ego, Maisie Malone' that she uses to fight demons in the computer game 'Demon Streets. At regular intervals you read the adventures of Maisie as she tries to tackle the demon underworld and move up a level in the game. As the book progresses you begin to see Maisie Malone stepping forward into Verity's persona to help her cope with the dangerous situation she is facing.
This is a funny entertaining read from an author with a unique voice. Cathy Brett's books are current and topical and the author definitely knows how teenagers operate. Already looking forward to the next book.