Between the Lines

5th September 2003 at 01:00

Kevin Sampson's Freshers (Jonathan Cape pound;9.99) is not recommended for anyone who remembers too clearly the faces of last summer's outgoing Year 13, or parents of those heading for university (especially to Sheffield). This tale of growing up is for grown-ups but it serves some of the purpose of Melvin Burgess's Doing It (more swearing, but a more appealing study of relationships), being honest and funny about the social and sexual pressures of the first year and the other hazards of halls-of-residence life, including drugs, alcohol and dodgy music. Kit, a likeable hero, worries about being a secret virgin, about drinking too much and about whether all his friendships are built on sand. The one thing he doesn't worry about is work, but that wouldn't be a good story.

If you like your adolescent turmoil more polished but just as harrowing, try Alice Hoffman's new novel, The Probable Future (Jonathan Cape pound;10.99), in which 13-year-old Stella is born into a long line of Massachusetts seers, with the ability to foresee others' likely causes of death. When the pressure gets too much, she finds unlikely refuge in her grandmother's Addams Family-esque residence.

Read more in this week's TES FRiday magazine

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