13-year-old Duffy is staying with his nan for the summer while his baby sister recovers from a life-saving operation. Duffy suffers mildy from Tourette's Syndrome and he only knows his gran and one of her neighbour's kids, a loud, insensitive kid called Stephen - what's he going to do for six whole weeks! Then Duffy meets Alice, a girl his age who lives next door. His nan disapproves of Alice because she's direct and temperamental and 'difficult'. But she makes Duffy feel accepted and liked. Alice listens to him, and she doesn't laugh at his Tourette's.Duffy can talk to Alice because she listens and she seems to know what its like to feel an outsider. But Alice is more cryptic about her own home life. Her dad, Big Norm, seems to be the most popular man in town; a devout Evangelist who runs a care home - Duffy's nan adores him. Yet Alice has an uneasy relationship with him, half worshipping, half resentful. Duffy can't work it out. But when Alice shows Duffy the story she's been writing, written in the style of Alice in Wonderland, he starts to worry. Reading between the lines it seems that her dad has been abusing Alice, to what extent it isn't clear, but she needs Duffy's help.
He slowly convinces Alice to face up to her situation in the real world, not just in a story, and he tells his nan what's been going on. Alice is taken into care, and Duffy faces the fact he may never see her again, but 'Bad Alice' touched his life - he will never forget her.
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group