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The Tulip Touch

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,481 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews

The story of a strange and disturbing friendship seen through the eyes of Natalie as she gets to know Tulip Pierce, a deliquent girl most others go out of their way to avoid. Nobody wants Tulip in their gang. She bunks off school, is rude to the teachers and makes herself unpopular with her classmates by telling awful lies. But none of this matters to Natalie who finds Tul

Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 4th 2006 by Puffin (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,463)
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A.E. Shaw
Jul 21, 2012 A.E. Shaw rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012

An exceptionally well-crafted book that presents very frank and uncomfortable truths about the way we all, from children, to schools, to social services, deal with "troubled" (or downright abused) children, and the question of whether or not a child can be inherently evil is expertly framed by certain adults in the novel, and left hanging there, exceptionally sadly.

A book in which the cruelty and sheer cleverness of children is not underestimated by the writer, but by the adults in the book, is
Jan 29, 2012 Karolina rated it really liked it
The Tulip Touch, by Anne Fine, is about a girl called Natalie who starts at a new school after a change in her father’s job causes her family to move. Not knowing anyone, she becomes intrigued by a girl called Tulip, who is an outcast among the rest of the class. They become good friends. Tulip encourages Natalie to take part in silly games and dares. Gradually these become more sinister and Natalie finds she needs to escape this friendship. The story is told from Natalie’s perspective, the firs ...more
Despair Speaking
Jun 24, 2013 Despair Speaking rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J.A. Ironside
Jan 09, 2013 J.A. Ironside rated it it was amazing
I only read this book for the first time recently (in an afternoon in fact) as I'd somehow missed this as a child. This is a genuinely sinister book. The characters are exceptionally well drawn. You can easily see why Natalie is drawn to the clever, creative Tulip. At first it seems an innocent if somewhat controlling friendship but as Tulip's games become subtly nastier and more callous Natalie has to fight to break free of Tulip's hold on her. I can't really do this book justice. Everyone shou ...more
Becca Edwards
Nov 17, 2015 Becca Edwards rated it really liked it
Well I don't think I've ever read a book so fast!

I had heard of the book, and had assumed the story would have been told from the perspective of 'Tulip' (probably because of the title) so I was surprised to find that the story was told from Natalie's perspective - a whole new character I hadn't been expecting to meet!

The story contains some dark and complex elements, and the characters have been so well written with so much detail attached, that it is easy for the reader to learn about the chara
Feb 05, 2014 Anna rated it liked it
Typo alert for those of you who mark a book down for typos/editing (I am definitely NOT included in this, I couldn't give a hoot as long as it's readable): there is a fragment of a sentence lurking somewhere in my edition, which I think was supposed to be deleted.
On with the actual review:

I have extremely mixed feelings about this book.
Anne Fine does a superb job at describing a sexually/emotionally/ physically abused child in Tulip and an equally good job at describing the fascinated yet incr
Jan 09, 2012 Aoife rated it liked it
This book was by no means mind blowing, but it makes you think a bit which is good I guess. It's a very quick read and it's mostly based on character rather than plot. Of course things do happen, but this book focuses more on the characters of Tulip an Natalie and their parents as well. It brings up the question (which we discussed in class) on whether Tulips bad behaviour or "evilness" is her parent's fault. Or whether it's solely her fault, because after all she is a human being who should be ...more
Mar 06, 2013 Liz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People looking for a quick, effective read
Recommended to Liz by: goodreads!
Recommended by: I first heard of The Tulip Touch here on goodreads, and I was interested by it. It was completely by chance, however, that I stumbled across the book in my school library one lunchtime. As soon as I finished reading the first three pages, I knew it would be hopeless to avoid reading it. So here goes: my review of 'The Tulip Touch'!

Basic Plot: Natalie, who's Father is the manager of a hotel, befriends a girl named Tulip. The two quickly become fast friends, and play many strange g
Nov 29, 2011 Maria rated it it was amazing
this book is very intresting,showing how much peer pressuure can lead into such dangerous things,i have just finished reading this book in my class and has made ask so many questions about it; was the wickedness of tulip nature of nurture? where tulip got this behaviour from of was she just born evil, tulip's father,mr pierce has been described as grumpy,violent a very troubled drinker, some texts in the books has shown that tulip of have learned these unappropriate words from the father and has ...more
Sep 11, 2014 Kabuto rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
I still enjoy reading this book, despite the fact I'm probably too old for it now. I read it first when I was ten years old and I found it incredibly haunting. Now it is definitely one of my favourite books. The whole thing is told in a sort of dreamy style, and I found the psychological side fascinating. Yes, Tulip is horrible but so is the main character in a more subtle way, adding depth and a sinister edge. The characters are so intriguing and unlike those found in any other book I've read. ...more
Callum Woombs
Oct 21, 2013 Callum Woombs rated it really liked it
Tulip Touch is an amazing novel about a girl called Natalie whose parents own a huge hotel, were they have just moved to. When Natalie is exploring in the corn fields she sees a girl,asking the her name the girl replies tulip but says nothing else. At school the 2 gradually become friends even though everyone else just despises tulip. They start to play games and spend most of their time with each other. Natalie realizes that Tulip lies all the time none of which anyone would believe but still N ...more
A very creepy and menacing tale of friendship and what happens when things go too far.

May 21, 2014 Abby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
I say I liked this book, but take that with a grain of salt. I'm a young adult, returning to this book approximately twelve years after I first started it in elementary school.

This is a fascinating, disturbing novel about human nature and a little girl's descent into what really can't be described as anything but evil. Tulip, Natalie's good friend, lives in an impoverished, abusive home. This is the story of Natalie's dependent unhealthy relationship with Tulip and how she finally breaks free.

"People aren't locked doors. You can get through to them if you want.

But no one did. No one reached out a hand to Tulip. Nobody tried to touch her. I hear them whispering and they sicken me. 'Bus seats!' grumbles Mrs Bodell. 'Locker doors!' complain the teachers. 'Chicken sheds!' say the farmers. 'Greenhouses! Dustbins!' moan the neighbours. And Mum says, 'A lovely old hotel!'

But what about Tulip?
I shall feel sorry for Tulip all my life.
And guilty, too.

I remember being rather bored i
Jasmine Woods
Apr 06, 2016 Jasmine Woods rated it it was ok
A wonderfully slow, sinister build-up with a deeply unsatisfying conclusion. The story is reminiscent of Heavenly Creatures, with its deepening, obsessive friendship between the two girls and Natalie's well-written inner world of mind games. Sadly it lacks any pay-off, as Tulip's 'ultimate crime' so frequently mentioned throughout the novel turn out to be nothing more than burning down a building with no-one in it. Since the introduction to the book references the Bulger murder more than once, I ...more
Feb 26, 2014 Mirte rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
The Tulip Touch is a short, but very intense book. I finished it in one sitting, as the words keep flowing and the story unfolds itself bit by bit. We get to know Tulip at the same rate Natalie does, though we are forewarned that there is something terribly wrong about her. And yes, Tulip seems a bit odd, but also an exciting friend to have, with all the games she makes up. Yet gradually, the games become less fun and more criminal in nature, as well as morally wrong. It is only when Natalie man ...more
Jun 23, 2013 Kiki rated it really liked it
I remember being so enamored with this book, but truth be told, it's been many, many years since I've read it. Maybe I'll revisit it and see what I think with more of an adult eye.

I do remember doing an English class project on it, and getting a Cinderella sticker for my efforts. That was pretty darn great.
I've actually had "friends" like this...who would make up all sorts of lies to tell me for the fun of it. Screw around with my mind. That sort of thing.

Well. This is certainly a dark story and I do tend to be intrigued by darker content. This is a story showing how even children--the people we usually like to think of as being the most innocent--can be flat-out evil. (I don't remember the book saying exactly the ages of the girls, but I'm sure they weren't any older than 12. It sounded like they
Jul 10, 2016 Francesca rated it it was amazing
I had to read this book for school and honestly at first I was dreading it. It didn't look very interesting and I thought it was going to be a total flop. How wrong I was! I enjoyed this book so much and I connected with Natalie more than I have ever connected with a character. Fine wrote about feelings that no other author that I have read has before, the feeling of being so mesmerised with someone that you don't even realise how horrible they are being to you. I loved the fact that it wasn't a ...more
Jun 30, 2016 Heather rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This is quite a gripping story for younger teens. Tulip is a complex character. On the one hand she is cold, cruel and calculating, but on the other, thanks to her abusive home life, she is extremely vulnerable. At times I felt really sorry for Tulip, but I also sympathised with Natalie, Tulip's only friend. She is mesmerised by the excitement Tulip brings to her life, yet senses that there is something dark and dangerous about Tulip and the games she invents, but breaking away from Tul
Jan 06, 2016 Sarah rated it liked it
Read the play version in one sitting since I'll be teaching it starting tomorrow (yay, procrastination!). I actually enjoyed the characters, and I thought the plot was dynamic. However, I didn't like the ending. Why do all of these modern British "classics" that I'm forced to teach have to have such depressing endings? DNA was far worse, but still. I think that these messages could be conveyed just as effectively in a manner that is more positive. I get that it may be more realistic this way, bu ...more
Aug 30, 2012 Marie-claire rated it it was amazing
An interesting story, I suppose made for kids, but really the story of these two odd friends is rather adult.
K. Carters
Apr 16, 2014 K. Carters rated it really liked it
Nice sunny day and I have just ploughed through this book in one go! I liked it. At times very dark, very eerie and uncomfortable to read...but with enough happening in the background to keep you reading on. I would have taken the author and editor notes out of the front and put them at the end. I enjoyed reading about the reasons for writing the book but felt it needed to be at the end and not the start...where it was a pretty big spoiler!

Great book and makes you think about all that is happeni
May 07, 2014 Annabella rated it really liked it
Ive had this book this since I was 9 but I never bothered to read it and I never understood why. It's an amazing read, very disturbing and thought-provoking. And it explores, so simply yet deeply, a child's companionship with someone who isn't what she seems. Throughout the entire book I was wondering if Natalie would grow up with all the memories and emotions regarding tulip, and what would happen in the future between the 2 - maybe Atwood's Cat's Eye might offer a similar insight in an adult c ...more
Stephanie Stanton
Sep 17, 2015 Stephanie Stanton rated it liked it
I read this simply because my daughter is reading it at school; her first shared book at secondly. I have not read too many books that are aimed specifically at this age group. I tried hard to read it from an eleven year olds perspective. The book explores the subject of friendship choice, acceptance, family dynamics and even a bit of nature/ nurture pondering. I can imagine this to be stimulating and very relevant to this age group, and as a first book to dissect at secondary school, this would ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Luna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-authors
Given that this book isn’t even 200 pages long I did not expect for Anne’s Fine to pull me into this story so completely. To be so enraged by what happens and for there to be so many where I wished I do something. Truthfully I did not expect to care so much.

The Tulip Touch is narrated by Natalie and takes place over a few years, it tells the story of her friendship with another girl – Tulip. On the cover of my book the phrase “no one is born evil” is repeated over and other and the question of w
Mar 23, 2012 Anushka rated it it was amazing
The Tulip Touch
Anne Fine
Contemporary Fiction

The Tulip Touch is about a girl called Natalie. Her father was given a job at a hotel called 'The Palace'. At first Natalie found the place suspicious and sinister, however later she found a liking to the new place. She was the new girl in town and didn't have any friends, but one day while she was in the garden of the palace she saw a skinny, little girl, called Tulip and she thought they could be friends. When she got to school, she was so glad when
This was one of my favourite books as a child and, although it's undoubtedly a children's book and nowadays is a very quick read for me, it is nevertheless very powerful, and still has the ability to shock. Anne Fine manages to infuse almost every line with a fantastic sense of tension - even when what's happening seems perfectly normal, you somehow feel unsettled. There are some scenes - for example Natalie's glimpse of Tulip's self-portrait - that are essentially simple yet, even after repeate ...more
Molly Fabulous
Jun 22, 2014 Molly Fabulous rated it really liked it
A lot of people are saying that this should be on the curriculum to raise issues about neglect and bullying etc for children. However I think it is much too sinister for children - I read this at 9 and it scared the hell out of me. Obviously I can read it now but it is a very dark book and I don't think children should be thinking about the details of child abuse whilst they're still young.
Nov 27, 2014 Jennyb rated it liked it
Grad school does not really leave a lot of time for fun reading, but once in a while you have to sneak one in there, provided it doesn't take too much time away from Serious Reading. I have no idea where I got this, or why I have a book for and about middle school kids. In any case, it was still a perfectly decent way to spend a couple hours of my life.
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Though readers often find themselves inadvertently laughing aloud as they read Anne Fine's novels, as she herself admits, "a lot of my work, even for fairly young readers, raises serious social issues. Growing up is a long and confusing business. I try to show that the battle through the chaos is worthwhile and can, at times, be seen as very funny." In 1994, this unique combination of humour and r ...more
More about Anne Fine...

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“Yesterday, when we were packing, Julius asked me,

"If you could rub Tulip out of your past life, would you do it?"

And I had to shake my head. I can't regret the times we had together. Sometimes I worry I won't have times like that again, that there will be no lit nights, no incandescent days. But I know it's not true. There can be colour in a million ways. I know I'll find it on my own.”
“People aren't locked doors. You can get through to them if you want.

But no one did. No one reached out a hand to Tulip. Nobody tried to touch her. I hear them whispering and they sicken me. 'Bus seats!' grumbles Mrs Bodell. 'Locker doors!' complain the teachers. 'Chicken sheds!' say the farmers. 'Greenhouses! Dustbins!' moan the neighbours. And Mum says, 'A lovely old hotel!'

But what about Tulip?
I shall feel sorry for Tulip all my life.
And guilty, too.
More quotes…