- My Sister Jodie
My Sister Jodie Author(s) Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator Nick Sharratt Country United Kingdom Language English Genre(s) Children's novel Publication date 13 March 2008 hardback Media type Print (Hardback) (Paperback) Pages 400 pp ISBN 0385610122 OCLC Number 182663431
Pearl and Jodie are sisters. Jodie, 14, is the tough, boisterous elder sister and Pearl, 10, is the shy, bookish younger sister. Their mother and father, Sharon and Joe, decide to move from where they live to a place called Melchester College, where they have both got new jobs as the cook and the caretaker, to give the girls a good chance with their education. Jodie doesn't want to move because her mother says she'll have to retake Year 8 because her current school isn't giving her a good education, but Pearl is glad because she gets bullied a lot at her school but knows that she'll be bullied at secondary school too. They move to the college - Jodie says only because she needs to look after Pearl- and once they get there, Miss French, the school secretary, comes to meet them at the gate. On the first night there, they meet Mr Wilberforce, the Headmaster, and his wheelchair-using wife Mrs Wilberforce at dinner in the Wilberforces' bungalow, with Miss French too. As it is the summer holidays, not many students are there, apart from tall, badger watching Harley, who Pearl makes very good friends with, and three little children: Zeph, Dan and Japanese Sakura. Pearl prefers Sakura. They also meet the other staff, the under matron Miss Ponsonby ("Undie") and the gardener, bad boy Jed, who Jodie begins a serious relationship with him almost straight away, even though he's 5 years older than she is and despite the fact that Jed, at first, doesn't seem interested.
On Pearl's birthday, when she is 11, she is gifted with lots of presents. Mrs Wilberforce gives Pearl a manuscript book and tells her that she has to write her own story in it. Harley gifts her with a torch, and they go out to badger watch together every night, and one night they hold hands. When Pearl comes home, Jodie demands to know what's going on because she gets the wrong idea and thinks that they are being romantic. Pearl tells her they've been watching badgers and didn't want her to come because she was too noisy. Jodie asks if they would have wanted her there if she was quiet and, though Pearl doesn't mean it, she says yes. She notes that before now she would never have lied to her sister. When term starts, Pearl makes friends with a group of girls: Harriet, Sheba, Freya and Clarissa. She enjoys her lessons and isn't bullied, and does well at school. But Jodie has a difficult time. The other boys and girls in her year despise her for being a "tart" and make her life miserable. When she goes off into the woods with two boys, her reputation gets even worse, though she tells Pearl she didn't do anything with them. Also, Jed the gardener is being chased after by some other girls in Jodie's year who she doesn't like at all. Because her classmates refer to her as Ginger Minger, Jodie drastically dyes her hair dark black, but it goes wrong and comes out purple. Then, Jed runs over a baby badger, one of two cubs Pearl and Harley have been watching, and it dies, leaving Jodie, Pearl and Harley disgusted with Jed's behavior towards the badger cub. Jodie dumps Jed for the final time, and she sees him with the cleaner's daughter, Tiffany Colgate. Pearl finds a pregnancy test in the bathroom and confronts Jodie, thinking it belongs to her which Jodie strongly denies. She flourishes by looking after all the little children. At the Halloween party, Jodie dresses up and plays with the children at the Halloween party, and then taking the little boys to their dormitory. Pearl takes the little girls to their dormitory and tells them stories about a pumpkin fairy. However, Jodie conjures up a frightening horror story that scare the little boys to death and lots of them fall ill and have terrible nightmares. As a punishment for scaring the boys, Jodie has to stand in front of all the children at school and tell them that the 'sad white whispering woman' who lives in the tower isn't real. Everyone laughs at her but Jodie doesn't seem to care. Everyone is being so cruel to Jodie, and one girl keeps teasing her about the 'sad white whispering woman', so on Guy Fawkes Night (Bonfire Night), Jodie climbs up to the tower and dresses up as the ghost, making everyone scream and be scared, even the seniors. But then she realizes that little Dan, whom Jodie has a soft spot for, is very scared, she pulls the dress off and attempts to open the window and call out that it is only her. But she tugs too hard, then disaster strikes, and Jodie falls out of the window, breaks her neck and dies instantly. Pearl and her parents are devastated. Newspapers claim Jodie committed suicide (although she didn't). They leave Melchester College to live in a flat in London, because they say that they wouldn't be able to face everyone or that tower ever again. Before they move, Sharon reveals she's having a baby, meaning the pregnancy test was hers. Pearl isn't keen at first but soon grows to love her new sister May, even using the book that Mrs Wilberforce gave her to write about the story of her and Jodie, so that May can read it when she's older. Pearl says that while she'll be a good big sister to May, however, she'll never be as good as Jodie.
- Pearl - the main character and narrator of the story. Pearl is shy and quiet, and adores her older sister. She makes friends with Harley and Mrs Wilberforce, who is a bookworm like Pearl. It is hinted a couple of times she may have a crush on Harley.
- Jodie - Pearl's rebellious older sister and the daughter of Sharon and Joe. Jodie's hair is naturally mousy coloured but has dyed it orange with gold streaks and later on in the book tries to dye it black but it comes out purple. She clashes with her mother a lot but her dad adores her and always sticks up for her. She was always the popular one but when she goes to Melchester college, its Pearl thats the popular one and Jodie gets bullied. She has an affair with 18 year old gardener Jed but she dumps him after he kills one of the badger cubs. Jodie falls out the secret tower room to her death on Bonfire Night.
- Harley - A tall friend of Pearl's and is in the same class as Jodie. He boards over the Summer holidays and watches badgers, and though Jed wants to kill them Harley is against that. He gives Pearl a torch for her birthday so they can meet and watch badgers together at night. It is hinted he may have a crush on Pearl as he says that she is the prettiest girl in the whole school and at one one point, the two hold hands. Harley says that while he likes Jodie 'in small doses' he likes Pearl a lot more. He and Pearl keep in touch after Jodie's death.
- Sharon - Pearl and Jodie's mother. She and Jodie have frequent clashes throughout the book. She worked at a tea-shop before moving to Melchester and is the loving but sometimes up-tight wife of Joe. She is the school cook.
- Joe - Pearl and Jodie's father. Joe adores Jodie and can never say no to her. He is the school caretaker. He is very good in woodwork and makes toys for Jodie and Pearl.
- Zeph, Dan and Sakura - Three children who board over the Summer. Sakura is a delicate, shy Japanese girl who Pearl befriends. Zeph (Real name Zephaniah) is a boy whose greatest love is food. Dan has a man from a biology kit which he carries around with him. He is described by Harley as 'Ever so bright yet seems backward.' After Jodie's death, Pearl keeps in touch with them all.
- Harriet, Sheba, Freya, and Clarissa - Pearl's friends, though Clarissa is sometimes mean about Jodie. Pearl is closer to Harriet than the rest and keep in touch after Jodie dies. Freya always cries at the start of term.
- Mr and Mrs Wilberforce - Mrs Wilberforce's family owned the whole college and her father turned it into a school. She is in a wheelchair after slipping down the stairs in the secret tower and snapping her spine, losing the use of one arm and both her legs. Her husband runs the school under a strict balance. Pearl writes to Mrs Wilberforce after Jodie's death.
- Jed - The gardener, who looks like a pirate and Jodie fancies him. They begin a serious relationship, except Jodie dumps Jed after he kills a badger cub. He dates Tiffany Colgate at the end of the book.
- May - Joe and Sharon's third daughter, Jodie's would have been sister and Pearl's sister too. She is born near the end of the book, a while after Pearl finds the pregnancy test in the bathroom. Pearl is cut up when Jodie falls to her death from Melchester colleges window, and promises to look after May and be a great sister to her. Possibly the most emotional part of the book.
- Miss French - the assistant head, who has a soft spot for Mr Wilberforce. She owns a big dog called Shep, and is obsessed with Elvis Presley. Jodie's mum dislikes Miss French because she bosses people around.
- Pearl has a friend named "Clarissa", however in one part of the book Sharon (Pearl's mother calls her "Camilla")
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