Teen lust or love?
One of the very few children's writers who appreciates how permeable is the boundary between everyday life and the imagination, Mayne is in tip-top form here with a story which mixes teen love or lust (no one is sure: and are they ever?) with memories of the same girl, much younger, when her mother had a traumatic miscarriage.
Using Bristol dialect, a mis-spelt diary and snapshot scenes from young and teenage perceptions, Mayne weaves together a story of broken threads slowly mending.
Paul, whose family owns a broken-down fairground carousel, is moonstruck by Victoria, whose posher family lives in a flat and buys her riding lessons. Which is more attractive: the real or the carousel horse ride? And why need she choose? Why does Victoria want to stay a baby? As it turns out, luckily, she doesn't need to.
As ever, Mayne's books work by suggestion and image, not linear narrative, with illuminating flashes: why do we say "move house" when it is everything else that moves and the house that is left behind?