Friendly Fire by Patrick Gale

Friendly Fire

Patrick Gale

Despite living in a children's home Sophie gains a place in a very traditional boarding school. There she meets an array of characters whose lives have been so different to her own and for whom anything goes. This is a story full of passion and betrayal and I was hooked from the start.

The first time Lucas came to Sophie's attention, he was wearing a dress. Towards the end of her first month at school, Sophie paused one night in Flint Quad and was transfixed by what she saw through one of the male chamber windows. Music was playing, Brian Ferry singing 'Love is the Drug' which was what had pulled her up short in the first place as it was a song with good associations for her. A girl in a soiled, purple silk ball gown was showing an older boy how to jive. Girls were banned from all male chambers after sundown, one of the rules whose wisdom was swallowed as unquestioningly as peasants accepted folklore in a werewolf film.

As the lawbreaker mouthed instructions, the boy whirled her around, held her by one hand then another, twirled her this way and that. Each was concentrating too hard to smile ....

Then the dancers' manoeuvres caused the girl to be spun out in such a way that her eyes momentarily met Sophie's through the barred window and Sophie saw it wasn't a girl at all.

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