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Ella on the Outside

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Ella on the Outside Reviews | Toppsta

Book Rating: 5 based on 18
18 Reviews
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Ella is the new girl at school. She doesn't know anyone and she doesn't have any friends.


And she has a terrible secret.


Ella can't believe her luck when Lydia, the most popular girl in school, decides to be her new best friend - but what does Lydia really want? And what does it all have to do with Molly, the quiet, shy girl who won't talk to anyone?


A gripping story of lies, friendship, and blackmail...


"A perfectly-pitched, thoughtful story with a big heart." - Katherine Woodfine, author of The Clockwork Sparrow

Ella on the Outside Reviews | Toppsta

9781788000338
  • ISBN: 9781788000338
  • Pub Date: 3rd May 2018
  • Publisher: Nosy Crow Ltd
  • Imprint: Nosy Crow Ltd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 240

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4th July '18
Alisha read it themselves aged 12 aged 12
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
The story is gripping and makes you think its written like a diary.

It certainly makes you think about your behaviour and your actions.
22nd June '18
Friends' children read it themselves aged Under 1 to 18
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
I gave this book as a gift to a friend's daughter and she loved it. The story is credible and the character of Ella very relatable. A change of school for children can be traumatic and navigating new relationships extremely difficult.
4th December '18
KeaniH read it themselves aged 11 aged 11
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
This is the first book I've read written by Cath Howe and I think it's really good and well written. Ella is a new school girl and she is surprised and pleased when the most popular girl in her class wants to be best friends with her, Lydia. But there is something that Lydia really wants and Ella doesn't know. But what has it got to do with Molly, the quiet shy girl that won't talk to anyone? I recommend this book to girls about age 9 plus. I give it a five star rating!
7th June '18
I read it to Hstar aged 10 aged 10
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
This story is written in a diary style.  It follows Ella as she moves to a new city and starting a new school as her family escape what has happened in their past.  This is the secret that Ella is meant to keep.  You see her struggles to try and fit in and make friends at her school.  It's a really good book to make children understand about how your behaviour and words can impact on other people.  At times you feel sorry for the characters or want to stop Ella from some of the things she says.  
3rd September '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
In this book we meet Ella whom always feels on the edge of friendship group's at her new school. She falls into a friendship with Queen of attention Lydia whom seems to use Ella to find out more about their classmate, mysterious Molly whom doesn't mix with anyone and sits alone.

Pressured by pushy Lydia into investigating into Molly's life and what she herself hides from inside her house. As Ella uses her photography skills to document what she finds, she learns true friendship and helps a woman in need...

As Ella also has to protect a secret about her family, she discovers a lesson about trust and true friendship despite first appearances.

It was a great book as we are not only drawn into the mystery of what is hidden in Molly's house but also over the fact of the fake friend and true possible friend angle in the story too. It was a read that teaches kids not to judge each other just on outwards appearance but on what we as people are truly about as we each have different interests and secrets.
8th June '18
I read it to Class 3 aged 7 to 8
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
This book really captures lots of the emotions that are felt when people enter new situations. Ella is a character that children can relate well to and her decisions, not all of which are good, seem very authentic. Ella's desire to fit in and her worries about keeping her secret hidden are written perfectly. Lydia is also a carefully written character and her actions made us as readers feel as uncomfortable as Ella felt. 
18th June '18
Baby Girl read it themselves aged 10 aged 10
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
My daughter devoured this book in almost one sitting. She loved it and immediately asked me what else this author had written! 
26th April '19
I read it myself (an adult)
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
I really liked this book. It had a creepy feel about it. New girl Ella is befriended by popular girl Lydia but something sinister is going on. I read this in 2 sittings - I couldn't put it down. 
18th October '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
As a primary school librarian, I am always on the look out for books for the 9-11 year old age range to entice my less enthusiastic readers, books that are thoughtful and tackle big issues but with a pace and smoothness of flow suitable for those who may only manage a few pages a day. From the front cover which screams 'pick me up!' to the very last sentence, Ella on the Outside ticks every box. A beautifully story of friendship and bullying, secrets and trust, all the characters sing and the relationships between them ring so true. A pleasure to treasure!
3rd June '18
Hermione read it themselves aged 9 aged 9
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
Ella is at a new school and nobody seems to like her. She misses her best friend Grace. 

But then the most popular girl in the entire school, Lydia, invites Ella to her party.

Ella also has a secret. One that she promised her mother she would never tell.

When Lydia is visiting her house, however, Ella is bombarded by questions about the secret from her. Ella finally cannot keep it in any longer and she tells Lydia all about it. Lydia does not seem that nice. She is always surrounded by a gaggle of girls and they always laugh when she laughs, even if it is not funny. Lydia also wants Ella to spy on a girl in their class. Can Lydia trust her new "friend"?
11th June '18
I read it to Rory aged 10 aged 10 & to Addie aged 8 aged 8
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
This book was easy to read but clever and  
thought provoking. Our favourite character was Ella and we really didn’t like Lydia. It was easy to feel for the characters and made us think a lot about friendship and picking good friends in life.  We liked how the book was set out in dates, almost like a diary and broken up with letters to Ella’s Dad. 
5th June '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
A thought-provoking read! Ella and her family have moved to a new area and crucially to a new school. Ella's family are harbouring a secret too. It's well written, makes the reader really understand how Ella feels and deals with big themes, shame, guilt and forgiveness. Crucially for me as a parent, it shows how children could use technology in a harmful way. I told my two children the plot of the book and i think it will make a very good read for them when they are a little older.
5th June '18
Bee read it themselves aged 9 aged 9
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
I just couldn't put this book down it was that good! Emma moves to a new school. She is very surprised when Lydia chooses her to be her best friend! Ella has eczema and a terrible secret. But what is Molly's secret? Read more too find out!
7th April '19
I read it myself (an adult)
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
5 stars
I read this book in preparation for "Empathy Week" at my school and found it to be perfectly pitched for pupils in Year 5 and above. Firstly the cover is hugely appealing for this age group, and the publishers have used a really good, easy to read font - I wish more publishers would look at details like this to encourage reluctant readers.

The story is told from Ella's perspective. She has just moved to a new town and a new school and feels very much on the outside as she tries to negotiate new friendships, whilst hiding the reason for her move and feeling self-conscious about her eczema. She initially falls under the spell of the class "Queen Bee" Lydia, but also starts to investigate the mysterious Molly who sits silently at the back of the class.

The book is told in a straightforward and accessible style, readers are likely to be drawn into feeling a great deal of empathy with both Ella and Molly from the very early chapters. Whilst telling an engaging story the author, Cath Howe, also deals with a range of sensitive issues including mental health, bullying, young carers and imprisonment. I would highly recommend this story for readers of age 10 and above, although it is worth being sensitive to some of the issues I have mentioned before recommending it to all young readers.
9th October '18
Gaby read it themselves aged 12 aged 12
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
4 stars
I loved this book as I find I can relate to it a lot. The moral of the story is don’t put your trust into someone you don’t know too well. Ella on the outside is an inspiring book about a girl called Ella. Ella becomes surprised when her new schools most popular girl, Lydia spends lots of time round her and even more when Ella is invited to Lydia’s sleepover Birthday Party. Why has she suddenly become a popular girl? Is it good or bad for her?
I would rate this book 4/5 because it was a really great story and I was really hoping to read the sequel.
30th June '18
I read it to Badgers aged 10 to 11
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
4 stars
Ella on the outside is a beautiful MG title which really makes the reader think about the importance of friendship, picking good friends and being a good friend to those around you. Ella is a bit lost at the start of the book. Her mother has relocated the family, her father is in prison and she's started a new school without her best friend beside her and finding it tough to break into existing friendship groups.  This story really shows the value of good friendships and the importance of treating people well. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  A perfect book for upper key stage 2 especially as they go through the transition to secondary school.  
16th June '19
akeen read it themselves aged 8 aged 8
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
4 stars
Ella on the outside is an adventure and mystery story.  I like that it includes letters and texts from Ella to her Dad.  
Ella is the main character.  She is a new girl at school so doesn't know anyone or have any friends.  
The story is about a girl called Ella and the friendships she makes.  What is the real reason why Lydia wants to be her friend?  
This book is set in a school in present day which makes it easy to imagine.  
The writing style is simple and modern with letters and texts which means I can relate to it.  
I felt sad for Ella at the start because she had moved away from her Dad and her best friend.  I then felt annoyed because Lydia was using her.  At the end, I felt happy because it all worked out for Ella.  But I won't spoil it by telling you what happened! 
I enjoyed reading the book because it was funny and I liked the story-line.  
6th June '18
I read it myself (an adult)
Ella on the Outside 9781788000338
4 stars
’Ella on the Outside,’ accurately portrays the brutal politics of high school friendships and the dreaded ‘popular girl’ who everyone’s terrified to cross. I felt for her as she stood at the side of the playground longing for someone to talk to her, as she wrote to her dad in prison and awaited his response, and as she wrestled with her conscience and the desire to be accepted.

Beautifully observed and subtly written, the perfect book for children on the cusp of leaving the snug nest of their primary schools and learning to fly at their secondaries.
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View book
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About Cath Howe

Cath Howe is an educational author and teacher working in South West London writing for, and working with, Key Stage 2 primary age children. Cath runs workshops in schools on everything to do with writing and performing. Ella on the Outside is her first novel for children....

More about Cath Howe

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