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Synopsis

In her eagerly anticipated second novel Mail on Sunday Novel Competition winner Isabel Ashdown explores the treacherous territory of adolescent friendships, and traces across the decades the repercussions of a dangerous relationship.

It's more than twenty years since Sarah Ribbons last set foot inside her old high school, a crumbling Victorian-built comprehensive on the south coast of England. Now, as she prepares for her school reunion, 39-year-old Sarah has to face up to the truth of what really happened back in the summer of 1986.

August 1985: Sarah celebrates her fifteenth birthday in the back garden of the suburban seaside house she shares with her ageing father. As she embarks on her fifth and final year at Selton High School for Girls Sarah's main focus is on her erratic friendships with Tina and Kate; her closest allies one moment, her fiercest opponents the next as they compete for the attention of the new boy, Dante. When her father is unexpectedly taken ill, Sarah is sent to stay with Kate's family in nearby Amber Chalks. Kate's youthful parents welcome her into the comfort of their liberal family home, where the girls can eat off trays and watch TV in Kate's bedroom. They've never been closer -- until a few days into her stay, events take a sinister turn, and Sarah knows that nothing will ever be the same again.

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