Bullseye Bella by James T Guthrie
Bella is a 12 year old girl. Her 8 year old brother, Blackbeard is a pirate. They live with their mother, Jane, who is a meteorologist.
Bella’s special talent is in dart-throwing and when she overhears a phone call which makes it clear that her mother is concerned about having enough money to pay school fees she enters the darts competition at the local pub thinking that the prize money she hopes to win will help. Though she does win money-in fact enough to win her pirate brother a parrot- there is more trouble on the way. The family services agency is contacted by an anonymous source. The children have been in the pub without parental supervision. An unpleasant social worker threatens action.
In the meantime Bella’s invitation to compete in the national darts championships is somehow mislaid. Who is behind this? It seems as if her chances to compete are impossible until another competitor steps aside to give her his place. Bella must face the pressures which come with public scrutiny and fame alongside the anxieties involved in participating in a major tournament. When a competitor gives her damaging advice she finally discovers who the villain is who has been attempting to upset her family and ruin her chances. Despite the odds she gets through to the finals where she faces the villain.
The winner of the Tom Fitzgibbon Award, Bullseye Bella is a great kids’ novel. Beautifully paced and with colourful characters and plenty of action, intrigue and tension, kids around the ten plus years range will love it.
Reviewer: Paddy Richardson