Uninspired debut novel from England: the fictional diary of a battered child who goes punk. As Kaye Gibbons did in Ellen Foster, Rigby has chosen to tell her story through the words of an undereducated, abused child. But the heroine of Ellen Foster had a distinctive voice and idiosyncratic vision--both of which are sadly lacking here. Rigby begins her novel with ""My name is Lauren Schanzer. I am 7 year old. I'm going to the juniars soon. I'm going to right a dairy every day like Kate my new sister"" and continues to pile up facts in simplistic fashion: Lauren and her siblings were born into a dysfunctional Yorkshire home and abandoned by their mother; after periods in foster care and with their grandmother, they are reunited with their hard-drinking, violent father and a new stepmother. As a teen-ager, Lauren finds an identity in the punk aesthetic. She leaves home and gets on the dole. She looks for love from men who hurt her, and finally flees to join friends in a southern seaside town where they squat in an abandoned house. Over time, Lauren's diction improves, with little benefit to the reader (when the squatters think they've seen a mouse, ""Panic spread quicker than the creature's alleged startled scuttle"") but when her friends seek to improve their lives, she adheres to the punk code and is left behind. Well-meaning, but the pathos of Lauren's situation--with Lauren herself never becoming individual or real--fails to move the reader.