Playing with us and using memorable click bait headlines as titles, James Goss has a ball in ‘Class: What She Does Next Will Astound You’ as he asks us what we will do to stop Skandis?
Ram is concerned when everyone around him seems keen to do an ice bucket challenge, the whole football team in fact, and he notices he gets the cold shoulder for not taking part. But when someone else takes his suggestion of doing something different and ends up in hospital, Ram starts to think there is another agenda. He’s got his own problems. Physically not the same since the prom where his girlfriend was killed in front of him, Ram must deal with his alien replacement leg and how much to tell his father. Not the complications of a normal teenager but then Coal Hill School is not a normal school. This is the school that the Doctor visits on a regular basis and takes its temperature.
As the other sometime friends get more involved with the challenges, it is April who goes all the way to finding out what is at the heart of the mystery. It might be the last thing she ever does. A tale about the trials of friendship and betrayal this story feels like a personal one. School is a hard-enough place to be as a teen-ager but add being bullied to that and it’s a downward spiral. This might be about aliens but it’s the humans who will get you every time.
Goss’ research is spot on. He picks up on the needs to be seen to be having a good time and the fear of missing out caused or enhanced by social media. It also covers trolls and bullying. The novel highlights the themes of the TV drama the novel accompanies and weaves in the elements of the continuing story in this innovative and youth-oriented show. I really enjoyed it, despite not being in the age range I’m assuming this is aimed at. In fact, I found it educational!
‘Class’ has not been served well in the UK and was virtually buried in the late-night schedules after debuting to a no publicity budget. It’s unlikely to see the light of day after this so enjoy the novels which seem to indicate someone somewhere had a few quid in the PR piggy bank. It’s full of ideas that are enjoyable and intriguing.
(pub: BBC Books/Penguin Random House. 338 page small enlarged paperback. Price: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-785-94188-7)
check out website: www.penguin.co.uk