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Furious Thing

Written by Jenny Downham

Key Stage 4 Family / Home Stories Gritty Reads

LoveReading View on Furious Thing

A passionate, powerful exploration of a teen girl’s rage against an unfair world in which her abusively controlling stepdad calls all the shots.

Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2019

Empathetic, insightful and buzzing with drama, the brilliant Jenny Downham has done it again in this vital, true-to-life treasure about a young woman’s struggle to stand up to her bully-boy stepfather.

“She threw things and slammed things and swore. She was clumsy and rude and had no friends. Her teachers thought her dim-witted. Her family despaired.” On the verge of turning sixteen, Lexi is a firework of frustration. Her furious outbursts are getting worse now John, her soon-to-be-stepdad, has taken over their family home, and his son – Lexi’s best friend (and long-time crush…) – has moved away to uni. On top of that, her younger half-sister is John’s favoured child, while she’s blamed for everything that goes wrong, including - most viciously of all - what happened to her beloved granddad. It’s no coincidence that the intensification of Lexi’s rage coincides with John’s increasingly coercive behaviour. Thanks to his constant criticism and angry desire to have everything exactly how he likes it, Lexi can see that her mum has become a shadow of herself. Trapped in this unbearable situation – one in which no one listens or believes her - what else can Lexi do but kick out?

Interwoven with fairy tale motifs that combine to create a satisfying whole at the novel’s heartrending climax, this is a brilliantly exacting exposé of coercive control and emotional abuse, and a powerful portrayal of a young woman’s refusal to give in. Lexy is a dazzlingly-created character that readers will root for and empathise with. Her battle to break the abuse elicits much compassion and sympathetic fury, while her irrepressible wit provokes plenty of laughs.

Joanne Owen

More About This Book

“There are lots of girls in the world with real and justifiable cause to be angry. Girls who fight to claim back the spaces that belong to them and who battle to be heard. I hope this story encourages more of them to make a noise.” Jenny Downham

In January 2019, the UK government published a landmark domestic abuse bill, introducing the first ever statutory government definition of domestic abuse to specifically include controlling and manipulative non-physical behaviour. In Furious Thing, Downham provides a window into being a teenage girl with lived experience of just this.

Find out more about the UKLA Awards 2021



The Costa Book Award Judges: “A fantastic British YA novel - real, honest and occasionally harrowing, but never without humanity.”

Furious Thing Synopsis

Anger was something to believe in when the world let her down.

Furious Thing roars with justifiable anger at an unfair world, as one girl fights to claim back the spaces that belong to her and battles to be heard . . . Lexi's angry. And it's getting worse. If only she could stop losing her temper and behave herself, her step-father would accept her, her mum would love her like she used to and her step-brother would declare his crushing desire to spend the rest of his life with her. She wants these things so badly she determines to swallow her anger and make her family proud. But pushing fury down doesn't make it disappear. Instead, it simmers below the surface waiting to erupt. There'll be fireworks when it does.

Furious Thing Press Reviews

'This book is furiously brilliant' Holly Bourne

'Breathtakingly good' Lisa Williamson

“One of the best YAs I have EVER READ. Full of feminist righteousness, this is a book I wish I had read when I
was 16”  - Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller 

“burns with a fury and fire”  - Helen Boyle, WRD EXTRA

“brilliantly handled. I sobbed.”- Kate Morris Double, Book Box Club

Praise for Jenny Downham’s writing:

‘stunningly told’ The Times

‘life-affirming’  Daily Mail 

‘powerful stuff’   Fabulous Magazine 

‘stunning’  BuzzFeed 

‘poignant’  The Sun

‘a star name in UK YA'   The Bookseller

Book Information

ISBN: 9781788450980
Publication date: 3rd October 2019
Author: Jenny Downham
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 378 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 4
Topics: Family / Home Stories, Gritty Reads

About Jenny Downham

Jenny Downham was our Guest Editor in January 2010. Click here to see the books she chose. Jenny Downham was an actress for many years before concentrating on her writing full-time. She lives in London with her two sons. Her book Before I Die was critically acclaimed and was short listed for the 2007 Guardian Award and the 2008 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year, nominated for the 2008 Carnegie Medal and the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize, and won the 2008 Branford Boase Award. It was also adapted for film and released in 2012 titled Now Is Good, starring Dakota Fanning and Jeremy Irvine. Jenny's second novel, ...

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