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Difficult dads

Child X. By Lee Weatherly. Random House (David Fickling Books). pound;10.99

Readers of about 10 and above will love this engrossing first novel. Thirteen-year-old Jules finds herself labelled "Child X" when her father's disappearance and subsequent revelations bring unwelcome notoriety.

Engaging first-person narrative draws the reader into Jules's confusion when the man she calls "Dad" not only disowns her but attempts to reclaim all the money he's invested in her upbringing. And who is her real father? With neither her mother nor her absent "Dad" offering support, Jules must try to make sense of the muddle, in the full glare of prurient media attention. Her courage is partly inspired by the example of Lyra, heroine of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights, the role that she plays in a local production.

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