This is a story about Martin. He's the leader of the Gang of Three, and the classroom joker. He lives in the 'new East End' where there is a difficult brew of white, Caribbean, African and Asian families. You have to be careful what you say and who you say it to on the streets of Martin's neighbourhood - not that Martin is particularly racist:
'I ain't got nothing against blacks, they're just different, they dance different and everything.'
So it is rather to Martin's surprise, that he finds himself having a great time at a rap club. Leaving the club later, Martin is offered a ride home by someone he knows vaguely from school. He doesn't know the car is stolen though, and it isn't a ride home, it's a ride to self-destruction. In the inevitable accident Martin suffers terrible burns to his face.
Can you imagine waking up in a hospital, and not even knowing for sure whether you have still got all your limbs? As Martin slowly comes to consciousness he checks, one by one. Everything seems to be pretty well OK. His face is the last thing he bothers to think about. He can't really feel the damage, you see, because of the painkillers.
Martin has a lot of thinking to do, and in his hospital room he has the time and space to do it. Obviously, he has to come to terms with his new and damaged face. Not only that, all his friends have to come to terms with his new face.
Also, Martin has to learn to deal with all the different reactions of ordinary people to his terrible injuries. It's all a bit different being on the receiving end of other people's prejudices, about disabilities, or race, or anything else. Benjamin Zephaniah is a black poet and writer himself, so perhaps he has made Martin white so that the message about prejudice can be well learnt.
Written in very simple language, Zephaniah brings the streets to life - I especially like the scene where Natalie misinterprets the three girls' smiles and gets ready for a fight, only to be asked if she likes clubbing. You can warm to these characters, for all their faults.
manfa, boy, from United Kingdom, on 22nd November 2008. Rating:
I have started reading this book in school. it so far is amazing, i dont normally get into this kind of book, not my style :) but this is a great book. the storyline of it is very good . i like the fact that they have different types of people....E.G rappers....and ravers. i think that this book is a very interesting book that id read again and again :) defo thumbs up for this book :) x
billhill94, boy, age 14, from Manchester, United Kingdom, on 15th November 2008. Rating: 8/10
Well, we've been reading this book in school recentely. I'm not really much of a reader, so this is only the second proper book that I have read all the way through, but the other was in school too. However, with this one, we actually had to take it home, just to read a chapter or two as homework. I was less than half way through the book when I took it home, but I've just sat down for over an hour and read the whole thing. The book is amazing. I really enjoyed reading it. The plot is very intresting, and I would say the book is very well written. There were certain parts of the book that I thought were slightly boring, but nothing that should put you off reading the book. Spoliers: I did find it strange how 'the gang of 3' fell apart at the end, and I didn't expect Martin and Natalie to split up. I would definately recommend the book for anyone of any age. It's great, and I would probably say it's inspired me to start reading more often.
Jodie, girl, age 14, from ellesmere port, United Kingdom, on 30th June 2008. Rating: 8/10
I think this book Face is a very exciting book to read to find out what is happening. It is about a teenage boy who is involved in a tragic car crash. The car blew into flames and has burnt all his face, this hasn't changed his life much but it has changed what he does and who he hangs around with. Before the crash the teenage boy who was called Martin had a gang the three in his gang there was Matthew, Mark and Natalie, Natalie was also his girl friend. Before the crash Natalie the other two and martin were always together but since the crash they have grew apart, and martin thinks it his because it is of his face. Natalie Doesn’t want to be with martin anymore, every time that martin asked her to go out she always says that she has got dance or drama, so this is why he thinks he doesn't want to see her anymore. My best bit of this book is when martin was in hospital and they were finding out what he was going to do with his life and everything els. The part that I didn't really think was good was the ending it wasn't anything special really I thought it was going to be really good ... but it was nothing like that. But overall I think the book was good and interesting!
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For another 'accident' story, you might like to look at this book by Sandra Glover:
If you enjoy books about the rough deals that life can throw at young people, all set very much in the present, you might like to have a look at these by Michael Coleman:
Also Malorie Blackman writes well about problems in school:
And practically anything by Gillian Cross should interest you:
And I'll just mention Melvin Burgess too: