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Anne Cassidy (1952–) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Sidelights

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Born 1952, in London, England; children: one son.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Scholastic, Ltd., 1-19 New Oxford St., London WC1A 1NU, England.

Career

Writer. Worked as a teacher in London, England for nineteen years; also worked in a bank.

Honors Awards

British Book Trust Teenage Book of the Year designation, and Whitbread Children's Book of the Year shortlist, both 2004, and Carnegie Children's Book Award shortlist, 2005, all for Looking for JJ.

Writings

FOR CHILDREN

Talking to Strangers, Adlib (Tarporley, England), 1994.

Spider Pie, illustrated by Bee Willey, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1995.

The Hidden Child (young-adult novel), Scholastic (London, England) 1997.

The Crying Princess, illustrated by Colin Paine, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2000, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Pippa and Poppa, illustrated by Philip Norman, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2000.

Cheeky Monkey, illustrated by Lisa Smith, Franklin Watts (London, England) 2000, published as The Sassy Monkey, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Jasper and Jess, illustrated by François Hall, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2001, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Tough Love (young-adult novel), Scholastic (London, England), 2001.

Naughty Nancy, illustrated by Desideria Guicciardini, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2002, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Missing Judy (young-adult novel), Scholastic (London, England), 2002.

Love Letters (young-adult novel), Scholastic (London, England), 2003.

Blood Money (young-adult novel), Hodder Children's (London, England), 2003.

Cleo and Leo, illustrated by Philip Norman, Picture Windows Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2003.

Looking for JJ, Scholastic (London, England), 2004.

Toby's Trousers, illustrated by Jan Lewis, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2004, Sea to Sea (North Mankato, MN), 2005.

The Best Den Ever, illustrated by Deborah Allwright, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2004.

(Reteller) Snow White, illustrated by Melanie Sharp, Franklin Watts (London, England), 2005.

Birthday Blues (young-adult novel), Scholastic (London, England), 2005.

The Queen's Dragon, illustrated by Gwyneth Williamson, Picture Window Books (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

Jumping Josie, Sea to Sea (North Mankato, MN), 2005.

CRIME NOVELS

Big Girl's Shoes, Lion Tracks (London, England), 1990.

Driven to Death, Scholastic (London, England), 1994.

"EAST END MURDERS" SERIES; NOVELS

A Family Affair, Scholastic (London, England), 1995.

End of the Line, Scholastic (London, England), 1996.

No Through Roads, Scholastic (London, England), 1996.

Accidental Death, Scholastic (London, England), 1996.

Brotherly Love, Scholastic (London, England), 1997.

Death by Drowning, Scholastic (London, England), 1999.

Dead Quiet, Scholastic (London, England), 2000.

Sidelights

The author of several teen thrillers in the "East End Murders" series as well as other young-adult novels known for their troubled protagonists and compelling plots, British writer Anne Cassidy explained to Madelyn Travis on the Book Trust Web site that she is attracted to "dark subjects." "I'm not interested only in whodunit, but in why something's done and how something's done and what effect it has on the people who did it," Cassidy added, in a discussion of her acclaimed novel Looking for JJ. In addition to her books for teens, Cassidy has also authored a number of books for entry-level readers.

Based on an actual incident that attracted worldwide attention—the murder of a young toddler by two ten-year-old British boys—Looking for JJ introduces another ten year old. Jennifer Jones is a lonely girl whose single mother focuses attention on her job rather than her daughter. Left with little supervision, JJ is drawn to the wrong sort: one of her two friends is a bully who ultimately eggs JJ and her equally weak-willed second friend into an act that has tragic consequences. Through the perspective of its three main characters, Looking for JJ focuses on "the power games that are going on, if you're at all soft or lonely or needy," Cassidy explained to Travis, adding of JJ and her friend that the two girls endure their friend's increasingly cruel behavior "just to fit in." Freed following a jail sentence for her participation in a horrific murder, JJ attempts to live life under a new name, but remains haunted by her past.

Other novels by Cassidy include Tough Love, which finds Gina falling for an older boy who seems to have his act together until he engages in gang violence and leaves Gina with an important choice to make. Missing Judy focuses on the aftermath of a young woman's abduction, as family and friends are left haunted by questions and inner terrors. While a teen is first flattered by the anonymous notes she receives, as Love Letters continues she realizes that she is actually being stalked, and Blood Money follows three teens who, after discovering a bag of cash and realizing that it is the lost property of a local drug dealer, are now faced with a moral dilemma in which several options could result in violence. Cassidy attempts to understand the thoughts of a young woman who abandons her newborn infant in Birthday Blues, another novel inspired by a prominent news story.

A devotee of crime fiction—particularly the novels of Ruth Rendell, Sue Grafton, John Harvey, and Scott Turow—Cassidy has also contributed several books to the detective genre with her "East Side Murders" series. Including the novels Death by Drowning, No Through Road, and Dead Quiet, these books feature teen sleuth Patsy Kelly, an eighteen year old who works for her un-cle's detective agency. "There's a lot more to these books than you'd think," Cassidy noted of crime fiction on her home page. "I love them. At their best they're thrilling and puzzling and—if they're well written—they tell you a lot about human nature and a darker side of life."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Magpies, May, 2002, review of Naughty Nancy, p. 29; September, 2005, review of Birthday Blues, p. 41.

School Librarian, May, 1995, review of Talking to Strangers, p. 76; May, 1996, review of End of the Line, p. 71; February, 1997, review of Accidental Death, p. 44; August, 1997, review of The Hidden Child, p. 157; spring, 2000, review of Death by Drowning, p. 43; autumn, 2002, review of The Queen's Dragon, p. 129, and Missing Judy, p. 154; winter, 2003, review of Blood Money, p. 207; spring, 2005, Rudolf Lowewnstein, review of The Best Den Ever, p. 19; summer, 2005, review of Looking for JJ, p. 99.

School Library Journal, November, 2004, Mary Elam, review of Naughty Nancy, p. 94; February, 2005, Melinda Piehler, review of The Queen's Dragon, p. 94.

ONLINE

Anne Cassidy Home Page, http://www.anne.cassidy4.users.btopenworld.com (October 6, 2005).

British Book Trust Web site, http://www.booktrusted.co.uk/ (November 6, 2005), Madelyn Travis, "No Hiding Place."

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