Growing up on a south London estate and excluded from every school that would take her, Alesha is the poster girl for the nation’s ‘feral youth’.
So when a young teacher makes an unexpected reappearance in the fifteen-year-old’s life, opening the door to a world of piano bars, salaries and middle-class house mates, Alesha’s instinct is to pull up her hood and return to the streets she knows.
But fuelled by a need to survive, Alesha soon falls into a cycle of crime, violence and drug-dealing, her one true ally deserting her when she needs him most. While everyone around her is rallying against the authorities in a war of haves and have-nots, Alesha finds herself caught in the crossfire, inextricably linked to the people she is trying to fight against.
Can Alesha see a way out? And as riots sweep the nation, whose side will she take?
Click here to read more about why Polly wrote Feral Youth and how she researched the subject:
See what the press has to say about Feral Youth here:
Click here for more info and photos from the launch party on 26th June 2013:
Click here to find out about the Feral Youth schools/literacy programme:
“A breakthrough book that raises uncomfortable questions about this abandoned generation of poor, semi-literate, ‘feral’ youth.” - Independent on Sunday
“Feral Youth is as compelling as it is horrifying. It lifts the lid on the lives of marginalised young people that the media demonises and the rest of us prefer to ignore.” - Fiona Bawdon
“The riots were widely misunderstood. The perception of feral youth causing havoc, driven by nothing more than criminalisation, was mooted from the start and stuck. It meant that the underlying causes such as poverty, broken homes and deprivation were largely unexamined. This book changes that. If you want to understand why so many young people took to the streets two summers ago, read this book.” - Sonya Thomas, Reading the Riots
“Feral Youth is a unique story that brings the lives and challenges of urban youth to the fore in a provocative way, giving an insight into life on London’s streets beyond the negative stereotypes and provoking us to address the underlying causes of the riots.” - Patrick Regan OBE, Founder & CEO, XLP
“Seeing the World through the eyes of youth, as Polly has achieved with Feral Youth, is something politicians and leaders of industry need to strive to achieve. It gives a unique insight to the very real problems encountered in some of our most deprived areas. Alesha wants to feel self-respect and love from those around her and acceptance from society, but taking the right path and making the right choices is a struggle . The stark reality of life on the streets today is that the wrong choices are often the easiest ones.” - Gary Trowsdale, Damilola Taylor Trust
“Feral Youth is an important book.” - After Nyne
“Feral Youth is as life-affirming as Trainspotting and will connect with teenagers and adults alike.” – Lambert Nagle
“Feral Youth is the story of Alesha – a fifteen year old from Peckham in South London, living under the radar, dodging social services, gang violence and her alcoholic mother. It’s the story of why so many young British kids took the streets, of why they were so angry.” – Triskele Books