Matthew’s American cousin comes to live with them: Sam’s small, blond and wild – with a giant attitude problem. He immediately starts to wreak havoc on Matthew’s social life – getting into fights with his friends and causing a scene whenever they go out.
School is about to start and Matthew and his friends don’t want these problems to continue, so they come up with a plan for Sam to prove his loyalty to their gang and to trick the mean girls at school. They dare Sam to go to school for the first week as a girl.
Told from the viewpoint of each of the characters – some funny, some conceited, some achingly sad.
Jay Barton has spent her life on the outside, being overlooked and mocked for her tomboy ways. All she wants to do is ride her favourite pony, which belongs to her much wealthier cousin. But then Jay shows a talent for winning the illegal pony races her uncle takes her to, and he starts to push her to take more and more risks. At 15, Jay decides to run away, to live the life of a stable hand.
Her fortunes are changed when she meets Manhattan: a pedigree grey racehorse who has used up all her chances and is now neglected and despised. Jay recognises a fellow misfit. She fights to give Manhattan one last opportunity to show she is the champion she was born to be. Together, they face a world of prejudice and cruelty and fight back the only way they know – by becoming the best.
Though born into privilege and inheriting a fortune, Willie Donaldson ended up dying alone in a seedy rented flat, his computer still logged on to a lesbian porn site. To some, he had been one of the great, under-rated comic writers of our time, and to others, a dangerous force of corruption and decadence.
His achievements were significant - he published Sylvia Plath while still at Cambridge, as a producer in the Sixties he staged Beyond the Fringe, and he was later to write the celebrated Henry Root Letters - but not as impressive as his reckless talent for self-destruction. The impresario became a serial bankrupt. The man about town, who had lived with Sarah Miles and been engaged to Carly Simon, ended up as a ponce in a Chelsea brothel. Success as a writer quickly led him into a dark underworld of crack addiction, fraud and sexual obsession. Now friend and collaborator, Terence Blacker unravels the intimate truth of Willie Donaldson's strange story in all its glamour, hilarity and pain.
'What a young fool I was. But how I adored him' Carly Simon
'A slimy crook' Private Eye
'For the skill and wit of his writing he deserves to be hailed as the English Nabokov' Auberon Waugh
'I am someone who always answers the phone at 1.00 am, because I know it isn't going to be my bank manager or the Inland Revenue, but probably a crack dealer or a prostitute' Willie Donaldson
Ms Wiz Loves Dracula:
Ms Wiz is dancing with a stranger - a tall, dark-haired man with long white fangs. Can it be true? The children of Class Five go into action when they realise that Ms Wiz is falling in love. With Dracula!
Ms Wiz Spells Trouble:
Class Five discover that their new teacher is a witch! She wears black nail polish, she has a talking rat and a special classroom aide - and she uses some very direct action teaching methods!
Terence Blacker read English at Cambridge and worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer during the 1980s. He has written four novels, including the acclaimed Kill Your Darlings, and is a successful writer of children's fiction. He currently writes a twice-weekly column for the Independent and is a regular broadcaster. He lives in Norfolk, where he plays the guitar and grows trees.