They do things differently there

Style: Average

Attitude: Take Care

In Brief: An antidote to superficiality, revelling in vivid imagination; rather wild idea of three warring orders of Nuns.

Cover of They do things differently there

Author: Jan Mark

Publisher: Red Fox

Published in: 2001

Age Range: Young Teens

Period: Contemporary

Genres:  GirlsGrowing-Up


Charlotte falls in with a quiet girl in her class and discovers another side to the town they live in. Charlotte lives in the new town of Compton Rosehay which has supplanted the two villages of Compton and Rosehay. When she breaks with her airheaded girl friends, she gets to know Elaine, a quiet girl, and together they embark on a tour of the imagination, telling each other what's really happening in the town of Stalemate, which populates the space taken up by Compton Rosehay, but in a parallel universe.


Charlotte breaks with her superficial and self-serving friends and gives herself a chance to see the world differently by giving another girl's point of view a chance.

The inhabitants of the imaginary Stalemate include the Little Sisters of the Apocalpyse, only survivors of a battle between three orders of nuns. While the description of the conflict is amusing, and retains a certain respect, it treats the nuns as just another piece of the backdrop to the English country scene, traditional but with no real value.

The writing is refreshingly batty, a break from the often superficially deep teenage writing one finds elsewhere.

Up in Stalemate the bog asset-stripper is bursting into flower and the song of the sheep can be heard in the land. You knew, I suppose, that the sheep of Stalemate are renowned for the melody. Infatuated naturalists hide all night in the bushes with recording equipment, making tapes. Poets write odes; you know; “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, but to be a sheep was in very heaven!”'

I was beginning to see why Elaine had spent two terms at Lord John's without speaking to anyone. Who could she have spoken to

Tuesday 1st January 2002