Frankie Parsons is twelve going on old man: an apparently sensible, talented Year 8 student with a drumbeat of worrying questions steadily gaining volume in his head: Are the smoke alarm batteries flat? Does the cat, and therefore the rest of the family, have worms? Is the kidney-shaped spot on his chest actually a galloping cancer? Most of the significant people in Frankie’s world – his father, his brother and sister, his great-aunts, his best friend Gigs – seem gloriously untroubled by worry.
Only Ma takes seriously his catalogue of persistent anxieties; only Ma listens patiently to his 10pm queries. But of course, it is Ma who is the cause of the most worrying question of all, the one that Frankie can never bring himself to ask. Then the new girl arrives at school and has questions of her own: relentless, unavoidable questions. So begins the unravelling of Frankie Parson’s carefully controlled world.
So begins the painful business of fronting up to the unpalatable: the ultimate 10pm question.
The 10pm Question is a novel which defies all age categories. It does so with a sparkling wit and an operatic cast of characters so delightful and maddening they become dear to us.