FANDOM


Bestselling British author who has written a huge amount of novels for children and teenagers. Most of them are about a specific theme or problem that young people might face. The 1970s magazine Jackie may or may not have been named after her, depending on who you ask. As well as winning a truckload of awards, she was the Children's Laureate between 2005 and 2007, and was named in the 2008 Honours List.

Her best known books are:

  • Tracy Beaker Series: The Story of Tracy Beaker, The Dare Game, Starring Tracy Beaker, Tracy Beaker's Thumping Heart
  • The Girls Series: Girls In Love, Girls Under Pressure, Girls Out Late, Girls In Tears
  • The Suitcase Kid
  • The Bed and Breakfast Star
  • Cliffhanger
  • Buried Alive
  • Double Act
  • Bad Girls
  • The Lottie Project
  • The Illustrated Mum
  • Dustbin Baby
  • Secrets
  • Best Friends
  • Lola Rose
  • The Diamond Girls
  • Clean Break
  • Love Lessons
  • Memoirs: Jacky Daydream, My Secret Diary
  • Cookie
  • The Hetty series: Hetty Feather, Sapphire Battersea
  • Little Darlings
  • Lily Alone
  • The Longest Whale Song

Several of her books have been adapted for TV. She has been criticized because she speaks out against the loss of childhood, but many of her novels have a foul-mouthed delinquent as the protagonist.


Tropes found in her works:

  • Abusive Parents - the titular heroine of Cookie has a father who borders on this, and is certainly abusive to his wife. There's also Elsa's stepfather (nicknamed "Mack the Smack" because he hits her) in The Bed and Breakfast Star, Mary's mother in The Diamond Girls, Treasure's stepfather in Secrets and, it is implied, Prue's father in Love Lessons
    • The Worry Website also has Lisa's dad, her main worry being that she finds out that he's been hitting her mum. She ends up not posting it on the website, instead saying that she's worried about starting to get spots instead.
  • Adaptation Expansion - The first season of the TV series The Story Of Tracy Beaker was more-or-less the first book. But while the second book is about Tracy staying with Cam, the second TV season sees her back at the Dumping Ground. The show then ran for a further three seasons (including one where she gets fostered by Cam again), and ended two years before the third book came out. It has now started again with a series chronicling Tracy returning to the Dumping Ground as a carer.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness - In several TV adaptations of the books. Most noticeable is Girls in Love, where chubby, bespectacled Ellie is played by the very pretty Olivia Hallinan; but plain, awkward Dolphin from The Illustrated Mum and scrappy, untidy Tracy Beaker were also portrayed by rather cute young ladies.
  • Adults Are Useless
  • Alliterative Name: Stella Stebbins, Dixie Diamond
  • Alpha Bitch: Kim in Bad Girls, Louise in How to Survive Summer Camp, Chloe in Sleepovers are all examples
  • Ambiguously Gay - Arguably, Carl in Kiss. Much of the plot centres around Sylvie's reaction as Carl discovers that he identifies as gay, leaving her uncertain as to how their friendship will change (especially when he attempts suicide because his crush doesn't return his feelings) and destroying her dreams of marrying him one day. At the end, however, he tells her he does love her and kisses her, leaving the ending ambiguous to whether he meant it romantically and is thus attracted to girls as well, or at least just Sylvie, or whether the kiss is merely an expression of his platonic affection for her. Sylvie seems to suspect the latter.
  • And Now for Something Completely Different - Hetty Feather was Wilson's first historical novel
    • Unless you count The Lottie Project as being historical, as half of it is set in the present, and half is the diary Charlie wrote for her History project, set in Victorian times.
  • Attempted Rape - Magda in Girls Under Pressure. Particularly notable since Nadine was almost date-raped in Girls In Love,
  • Bittersweet Ending - Things generally get better for the protagonists throughout the course of the story, but often they have to acknowledge that life isn't perfect and/or sacrifice something important by the end. In Suitcase Kid, for example, Andy does end up slightly happier with her situation, but remarks wistfully that she still doesn't fully belong at any of her residences. In Little Darlings, Destiny does get to meet her father, but she's fully aware that the meeting is basically a cynical public relations exercise on his part - she doesn't mind because she at least gets a chance to sing.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise - In Hetty Feather, Hetty has one with Jem. Sylvie and Carl had one in Kiss, but Carl later discovers he is gay, leading to heartbreak for Sylvie who had always believed he would grow up to fall in love with her.
  • Cinderella Circumstances - Lottie in The Lottie Project, who's forced to become a nursemaid to financially support her family despite being just ten years old (she had to lie about her age and pretend to be a teenager.)
    • Hetty Feather is also forced to go into domestic servitude to support herself.
  • Cloudcuckoolander - a lot of characters fall into this trope, particularly Marigold in The Illustrated Mum ( who, it is later revealed, has serious bipolar disorder and has to go into hospital) and Allison in The Other Side ( also heavily implied to be mentally ill.)
  • Cool Teacher - several, one prominent example being Mr Speed in The Worry Website.
    • Mr Harrison, the school librarian in The Illustrated Mum deserves a mention too.
  • Cosmetic Catastrophe
  • Creepy Uncle - Lily's former stepfather (the twins' father) in Lily Alone is a variant of this; she often mentions that she does not like the way he stares at her and makes suggestive comments towards her. Another variant is Jade's dad in Vicky Angel, who seems to have developed an extremely squicky crush on the now dead Vicky. Jade notices and is disgusted by it.
  • Cute Bruiser - Tracy Beaker, Elsa in The Bed and Breakfast Star, Jude in The Diamond Girls, Gemma in Best Friends, Ruby in Double Act, Treasure in Secrets, Dolphin in The Illustrated Mum.
  • Daddy's Girl - Floss in Candyfloss, Em in Clean Break (although he's an adoptive dad), Barbara in Deep Blue. Jayni in Lola Rose and Beauty in Cookie are Daddy's Girls simply because they are afraid of their abusive fathers.
    • Mandy in Bad Girls very much fits this role -- even so much as actually calling her father daddy despite her age. She occasionally seems to subvert this by wishing she had different parents or was adopted, only to then feel terrible and go rushing back to her parents' sides.
    • Star in The Illustrated Mum becomes this when she meets her father for the first time. It's hinted that he's not the best at commitment, and that he might end up leaving her behind again.
  • Dead Little Sister - Jodie becomes a Dead Big Sister in My Sister Jodie
    • In as much as Vicky and Jade consider themselves to be as close as twins, Vicky Angel delves headfirst into this trope within the first few chapters.
    • Tina's late brother fills this role in Falling Apart, although they were twins
  • Devil in Plain Sight - Dustbin Baby mentions that April was frequently tormented by a girl at the care home where she used to live, with all the carers seemingly blind to this and thinking the girls were best friends, until April pushed the girl down the stairs and put her in hospital.
  • Domestic Abuse - Jayni/Lola's father in Lola Rose
  • Don't Split Us Up - Lily's motivation in Lily Alone
  • Door Step Baby - April of Dustbin Baby, who as the title suggests was actually found abandoned in a bin
  • Downer Ending - Not unheard of, particularly in My Sister Jodie, even if the birth of May adds a note of hope.
    • Wilson's earlier novels were more prone to the Downer Ending; since she hit the big time with the first Tracy Beaker book, a Bittersweet Ending is more common.
  • Driven to Suicide - April's adoptive mother in Dustbin Baby, Tina in Falling Apart, Carl in Kiss, though he survives and Tanya's mother in Bad Girls.
  • Easily Forgiven - Ellie must have a hugely forgiving personality, since she forgives some pretty vicious treatment from best friend Nadine, and forgives Magda for kissing Ellie's boyfriend, Russell.
    • Violet forgives Jasmine and Will for their deception disappointingly quickly in Midnight. Although Jasmine clearly did like Violet for her own sake, her desperation to visit Violet's home was all about her desire to get closer to Will. YMMV as to whether or not this makes her worse than Violet's old friends Marnie and Terry, who tried the same thing (albeit unsuccessfully,) without having engaged Violet's feelings.
  • Expy - Almost all the characters in Love Lessons are Expies of those from an earlier novel of Wilson's called Waiting For the Sky to Fall.
    • Hetty Feather has many similarities to Lottie in The Lottie Project, including the historical setting, red hair, outspoken nature and working in domestic service.
  • Even the Guys Want Him - Midnight: "All the girls at my school are in love with Will. And some of the boys."
  • Fairy Tale Motifs - Violet in Midnight, Ellie in the Girls series, Mae in The Power of the Shade
  • Fat Idiot - Subverted with Biscuits, who is actually pretty clever. Also subverted in Vicky Angel where Jade initially thinks of Sam as a Fat Idiot, but he turns out to be funny, intelligent and kind.
    • Played straight in Love Lessons and Waiting for the Sky to Fall (see Expy above) where Grace and Nicola are both overweight and considerably mentally slow, although they're portrayed sympathetically.
    • Subverted again with the fat Mr Harrison from The Illustrated Mum; he's always kind to Dolphin and Oliver and even helps to stop them from getting into trouble with their teacher. He's also shown to be quite intelligent.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother - Violet in Midnight. Borders on Big Brother Attraction when she admits that at age fourteen she still harbours hopes of them living together when they grow up. Will is adopted, but Violet didn't know this for most of her life, and still sees him as a big brother.
  • Foregone Conclusion - in Vicky Angel, Vicky is still alive in the first chapter or two - but from the title alone, what do you think is going to happen to her?
  • G-Rated Sex - Occurs in some of the author's earlier novels aimed at teens (such as Falling Apart and The Dream Palace). Usually done in a slightly confusing way whereby a normal scene occurs (such as the couple going for a walk or hanging out in the guy's room) with nothing untoward described, and then the protagonist casually mentions later that sex took place in the middle of the scene.
  • Handicapped Badass - Mary in Take a Good Look, a partially sighted teen who foils an armed robbery.
  • Huge Schoolgirl - Ellie, who is embarrassed about her weight and large bust. Nadine, who's mentioned as very tall, may also count.
  • Important Haircut - in Double Act, Ruby cuts her hair to make her look different from her twin sister.
    • Jade also gets a new haircut in Vicky Angel, signifying the beginning of her efforts to break away from Vicky's hold over her and the person she used to be.
  • Incompatible Orientation - Sylvie and Carl in Kiss. In the Girls series, Ellie has a crush on a handsome guy who turns out to be gay, leading to embarrassment for her when she pretends to her friends that he is her boyfriend Dan (the real Dan being awkward and nerdy.) She and the gay guy do become good friends though.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun - Elsa is prone to these in The Bed and Breakfast Star
  • Innocent Inaccurate - Several cases of this. Among the most poignant are April in Dustbin Baby, who doesn't realise her depressed mother has committed suicide when the mother has been locked in the bathroom overnight and Verity in The Cat Mummy when she tries to mummify her dead cat after learning about Egyptian mummies at school, and can't understand why her family is horrified at finding out what she's done
  • Jacob Marley Apparel - Averted with Vicky in Vicky Angel, who as a ghost can change clothes and hairstyles any time she likes.
  • Little Miss Badass - Prue in Love Lessons, Tracy Beaker, Tanya in Bad Girls and Dustbin Baby
  • Love Makes You Crazy
  • Manipulative Bastard - Most of the abusive parents. However, special mention goes to Will of Midnight. There's something subtly and deeply troubling about the way he treats Violet that borders on Nightmare Fuel, Freudian Excuse or not. There's little chance that you'll read the section about the blindfold game and not at least suspect that Will's a sadist.
  • Market-Based Title - Elsa, Star of the Shelter was changed to The Bed and Breakfast Star in reprints, to reflect the change in accommodation offered to families like Elsa's.
  • May-December Romance - Coral and her boss in This Girl, Prue and Mr Raxberry in Love Lessons
  • Meaningful Name - Billy "Biscuits" McVitie, since McVitie is one of the biggest biscuit-making companies in Britain.
    • It turns out that Dolphin's name came from the fact that her father was the one to finally teach her mother to swim. Made all the more touching by the fact Marigold claims not to have remembered much about him.
  • Meaningful Rename - the end of Lola Rose implies that Jayni will continue living as Lola, an identity she struggled to live up to for most of the book.
    • Hetty changes her name to "Sapphire Battersea" in the book of the same name.
  • Meganekko - Ellie in the Girls series
  • Missing Mom - Hetty Feather centres around the heroine, an ostensibly abandoned Victorian girl, trying to find her mother. She does.
    • In the Girls series, it is mentioned that Ellie's low self-esteem is partly due to her mother's death.
    • Several of Wilson's other heroines also have dead mothers, including Verity (The Cat Mummy) and Ruby and Garnet (Double Act.) Tracy Beaker, who was abandoned by her mother, may count as well, and Allison in The Other Side whose mother is mentally ill and goes into hospital at the start of the book.
  • Moral Guardians - Referenced In-Universe in Midnight, where Violet mentions that Casper Dream's first book ("The Smoke Fairy") was recalled because of concerns that it encouraged smoking in children.
  • The Munchausen - Tracy Beaker, sort of. The tall tales she tells are about her mother rather than herself.
  • Near-Death Clairvoyance - Vicky in Vicky Angel
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant
  • No Sympathy - Nadine and Magda often behave this way towards Ellie in the Girls series. Several sets of parents - particularly Andy's in The Suitcase Kid - show a woeful lack of empathy as well.
  • Not Blood Siblings - Jem and Hetty
  • Overprotective Dad - Prue's father in Love Lessons, Katherine's father in Waiting For the Sky to Fall, Beauty's father in Cookie
  • Parental Bonus - a less light-hearted: a lot of the issues dealt with in the books are subtle enough for the target demographic to miss, but which an older reader will pick up(or suddenly remember in a bout of Fridge Brilliance)
  • Parental Favoritism
  • Parental Neglect - Happens a lot. The most obvious example is Dustbin Baby where April's mother, who had serious depression, could not look after her and left the five or six-year-old April to attempt to cook for herself, do her own washing and get herself to school. Lily Alone centres around a child who is left alone in the house with toddler siblings because their mother goes on holiday and the designated babysitter does not show up. Several other stories have very young protagonists who are left to look after younger siblings alone while the parents work long hours or (in The Bed and Breakfast Star) just sleep all day.
  • Parents as People - Generally not a good thing. In Lola Rose, the mother's understandable terror at being diagnosed with breast cancer almost lands her whole family back with her abusive husband, The Diamond Girls has the protagonist's family in a constant state of upheaval due to their mother frequently changing boyfriends and moving her children to new homes, Illustrated Mum sees the bipolar disorder of the generally lovable Marigold get her kids into dire straits, and the parents of The Suitcase Kid use their daughter as little more than an inconvenient chess piece. Used more positively with Cam in Tracy Beaker.
    • An early novel that Wilson based on this theme was Amber, in which the title character struggles to lead a normal life in spite of her mother's irresponsible hippy/"groupie" lifestyle.
  • Plucky Girl
  • Promotion to Parent - Sadie in The Mum-Minder, who must take over her ailing mother's childminding duties for a week. Jayni/Lola gets this to some extent in Lola Rose when her mother goes into hospital, leaving her alone to take care of her little brother.
    • Star in The Illustrated Mum mentions having raised Dolphin for most of her life despite only being three or so years older than her.
  • Raised by Grandparents - the heroine of The Power of the Shade
  • Replacement Goldfish - in Midnight, the heroine's brother was adopted because he looked exactly like their parents' first baby, who died
  • Retcon - Billy "Biscuits" gets a change of surname between Buried Alive/Cliffhanger (his first appearances) and Best Friends, where he reappears as a main character in a book unrelated to the previous two.
  • Romantic Two-Girl Friendship - Vicky and Jade in Vicky Angel bordered on this, especially with Vicky as a ghost being jealous of Jade's friendship with Sam.
    • Arguably, Gemma and Alice in Best Friends, although they're around 10 years old and thus would be a very mild version of the trope. The ending, where they are banned from seeing each other again but Alice's birthday package lets Gemma know that Alice still considers her a best friend almost pushes them into Star-Crossed Lovers territory.
  • Sadist Teacher - Miss Beckworth in The Lottie Project (though by the end it's obvious she's more of a Stern Teacher)
    • Also Miss Hill from The Illustrated Mum, who seems to delight in making Dolphin's day that much worse, despite the fact there would be a lot of evidence that Dol had a rough home life and at one point she continues to lecture Dol about the fact she hasn't even washed her face even as Dol is crying.
  • Self-Insert Fic - the heroine of The Lottie Project writes her school history project as the fictional diary of a Victorian servant, who is a thinly veiled copy of herself. Also, in Clean Break the protagonist meets a famous children's author named Jenna Williams, clearly intended to represent Wilson.
    • In Sapphire Battersea Hetty, now known as Sapphire Battersea, writes a partly-fictionalised "memoir" of her life under the name Emerald Greenwich.
  • Shrinking Violet - Violet in Midnight (aptly enough), Sylvie in Kiss, Lizzie in Lizzie Zipmouth, Beauty in Cookie, Lolly in The Dream Palace, Pearl in My Sister Jodie
  • Sibling Yin-Yang - Violet and Will (Midnight), Pearl and Jodie (My Sister Jodie), Dolphin and Star (The Illustrated Mum), Garnet and Ruby (Double Act). All the sisters in The Diamond Girls are examples, but particularly between Dixie and Rochelle.
  • Signature Style - Recurring themes in Wilson's books include broken homes, the heroine wanting to be a writer or artist, part of the story being set in a museum or art gallery, and the main character making friends with a social outcast. Wilson also tends to repeatedly use "though" in place of "but".
  • Spell My Name with an "S" - In Lola Rose, Jayni explains that the unusual spelling of her name is because it was chosen as a portmanteau of her parents' names (Jay and Nikki.)
  • Stacy's Mom - Mr "Rax" Raxberry in Love Lessons, Coral's employer in This Girl
  • Start My Own - In The Left-Outs, a group of kids who didn't get speaking parts in the school play decide to put on their own production.
  • Stepford Smiler: Lola Rose would act like this in hope of not setting her father off.
  • Strange Girl- Notably Prue, Violet and Dolphin although most of the heroines have active imaginations. Star from The Illustrated Mum however apparently started off as a strange girl but over time began to just want to be normal.
  • Sympathetic POV - Tracy Beaker would be a very different story if anyone else was narrating.
  • Teacher-Student Romance - Prue and Mr Raxberry in Love Lessons.
  • The Film of the Book - Dustbin Baby became a made-for-TV movie. Wilson is reportedly in talks for film adaptations of Lola Rose and/or My Sister Jodie.
  • Theme Naming - Love Lessons, where Prudence and Grace are so named because their father liked Victorian-style "virtue" names. In Sleepovers, the main character and her friends form an "Alphabet Club" because their names begin with the first five letters of the alphabet: Amy, Belle, Chloe, Daisy and Emily.
  • Theme Twin Naming - Ruby and Garnet
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl - Gemma and Alice in Best Friends, Treasure and India in Secrets, Ruby and Garnet in Double Act, Lolly and Lynne in The Dream Palace
  • Traumatic Haircut - Example of sorts in How to Survive Summer Camp, where Stella mentions that she used to have very long hair but got it chopped down to bristle when the punky-looking hairdresser misunderstood her instructions to cut only a small amount.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend - Sylvie to Carl in Kiss
  • Very Special Episode
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You? - Vicky Angel and Cookie.
  • Wild Teen Party
  • With Friends Like These...: Violet's friendship with Jasmine, Ellie's friendship with Nadine and Magda, May's friendship with Selina in The Power of the Shade. All instances require the main character to have the patience of a saint as their friends are by turns cruel and stupid. It's not totally incomprehensible why the friendships survive, but it does seem to require a lot of resilience from the gentler/more sensible friend. Subverted in Candyfloss where Floss falls out with the unpleasant Rhiannon and starts being best friends with a much nicer girl.
    • Sadly for the girls, it's justified because most Jacqueline Wison heroines tend to have trouble making even one friend and they generally aren't willing to risk losing them with all the other problems they've got.
      • An example not involving the main character occurs in How to Survive Summer Camp, where Louise clearly could not care less about Karen but Karen continues to idolise and fawn after her.
      • Vicky was extremely controlling towards Jade which actually makes Jade's heartbreak at Vicky's death even more tragic.
  • Your Cheating Heart - The source of a lot of the parental divorces that happen in the books. The stepdad in Clean Break is overheard by his stepdaughter as he plans to leave the family, Andy's parents split after her dad had an affair with Zen and Crystal's mother, and the rock star dad in Little Darlings has an affair with a much younger woman. Not unheard of among the younger cast either - see Girls in Tears with Magda engaged in a passionate make-out session with Ellie's boyfriend and Falling Apart where Simon's cheating on Tina and subsequently ditching her drives her to attempt suicide.
  • You're Not My Father - the plot of Wilson's first children's novel, Nobody's Perfect, in which a girl who hates her stepfather tries to track down her biological dad. He turns out to be equally disappointing.
    • Dolphin does this a little in The Illustrated Mum with Star's father, Micky, when Marigold encourages Dolphin to accept him as her own dad. Probably justified on the grounds that Micky spent the whole time fussing over Star and ignoring Dolphin and Marigold.
    • Ruby and Garnet in Double Act love to remind Rose that she is not their mother, although both warm to her by the end of the book.
  • Zany Scheme - particularly books aimed at younger children
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.