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Gemma (Gemma #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  253 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Accustomed to a glamorous life as a famous young movie star, eleven-year-old Gemma is horrified when, because of her mother's film career, she is sent to live with her "dull" and unknown cousins in a small industrial town.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published April 6th 1999 by Collins (first published July 1st 1973)
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May 12, 2008 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally! Gemma is the one title character in a Streatfeild book who is not so aggravatingly virtuous. In fact, she is delightfully flawed, stuck up and obnoxious, and for that reason, I loved her.
This is the first of the four 'Gemma' books, written as contemporary novels in the late 1960s. I read this many times as a child and teenager, and it very much reflected everyday life as I knew it, as a child in that era. It features a typical Streatfeild family with very little money and lots of talent.

It’s a nice tale of maturing friendships and self-discovery. 11-year-old Gemma finds that there are more important things in life than money and nice clothes, and her three cousins gain a lot fro
Jan 05, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, although there were things about it that annoyed me.

1. Lydia was exactly the same as Posy from Ballet Shoes. It seems Noel Streatfield believes if you are talented at dancing, you are also by extension imperious, unselfconsiously arrogant and totally free from moral scruples, but supposedly so charming and funny that you can't help being lovable anyway. It irritated me because I DIDN'T love her anyway (or Posy either for that matter) and was aggravated by the way her family
Oct 18, 2016 Deirdre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a child who had adored all of Noel Streatfeild's earlier books it was, nonetheless, an interesting change to read about a family and a lifestyle that reflected my own in many ways. The ordinary suburban house, local school, helping with the housework, etc. And even though we weren't as super talented as the Robinsons, I also recognised the music and dancing classes, the mums peeping through the windows to see how their child was doing and so on.

Lydia is actually one of my favourite Streatfei
Dec 29, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Noel Streatfeild's books and as a child I got my library to ILL them for me or hunted through second hand book stores to find all of them. She tells the perfect "girls stories". I was always able to find one character in each book that was my favorite. They definitely stand up to re-reads.
Alison C
Nov 28, 2015 Alison C rated it liked it
Noel Streatfeild was a very prolific children’s author, probably still best known today for her first story, "Ballet Shoes," published in 1936. She continued writing for the next 50 years, until her death in 1986, and in 1968-1969 she published the four-book “Gemma Series,” of which "Gemma" is the first. Gemma Bow has been a child film star from a very early age, but at the age of 11 roles are drying up. When her actress mother is offered a Hollywood movie, Gemma is sent to live with her cousins ...more
Jane Irish Nelson
This is an old favorite. I've loved it since I first read it as a twelve-year-old. However, I now wonder if the name change could have worked. Perhaps if instead of Gemma, she had a more common given name. Otherwise it would take only one person the comment that the only Gemma she'd ever heard of was Gemma Bow, the film star. "You know, you look like her," someone might say. "In fact you are her!" And, poof, the game is up. Also, wouldn't her cousins have bragged to their friends that Gemma Bow ...more
Jan 04, 2016 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The four Gemma books are an easy read, and effectively tell one longer story about Gemma's stay with the Robinsons. I know we're not supposed to like the Gemma books, because they are all modern; and my copies had the photo cover and the Betty Maxey illustrations, so they even looked a bit rubbishy. But I always liked the Robinson family, who lived in a fairly ordinary house like ours, and went to a comprehensive school like we did. Obviously we weren't as fabulously talented as the Robinsons an ...more
Jo Oehrlein
Very much a story about how to get over yourself, while also realizing that people want to be recognized as special. It's also about the positives of low key parenting.

Gemma's mom sounds horrible and she's been neglectful in that she didn't insure that Gemma was learning from the governess.

Lydia and Gemma keep this from being a story about perfect kids. Ann and Robin seem pretty perfect.

It's hard to believe that Gemma was never recognized, but the kids themselves say that she looks different tha
Oct 11, 2015 Jaina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book, pretty average for Streatfeild's books. This one actually reminds me a lot of Ballet Shoes. I really liked Gemma, but I didn't really think she got a very fair depiction - basically, she was only good at acting because she'd been "trained" in it since she was young. The reader gets the feeling that her cousins are the true talented ones, and she's just popular because of her material advantages. I beg to differ - acting is hard, no matter how much training you get. She's got some s ...more
Jan 17, 2015 Cassandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-read
Pretty good, but not as good as other Noel Streatfeilds, like Ballet Shoes and White Boots. Plus, Lydia is basically a ruder, not-as-nice but less lackadaisical Posy. Otherwise a nice light read.
Danielle Fredrickson
Danielle Fredrickson rated it really liked it
Jun 27, 2012
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Jul 28, 2014
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Jan 17, 2016
Pam rated it it was ok
Sep 01, 2013
Janet rated it really liked it
May 11, 2011
Catherine rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2013
Heather rated it it was amazing
Jan 26, 2010
Rhi rated it it was ok
Jun 05, 2012
Cass rated it really liked it
Apr 21, 2010
Ann Nicholson
Ann Nicholson rated it liked it
Jan 20, 2015
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May 02, 2011
Jenne rated it liked it
Oct 22, 2008
Stephanie Clifton
Stephanie Clifton rated it liked it
Apr 04, 2013
Merrystar rated it liked it
Jan 07, 2015
Fiona Thornton
Fiona Thornton rated it liked it
Sep 05, 2012
Roz Radmore
Roz Radmore rated it really liked it
Nov 04, 2015
Sara Hook
Sara Hook rated it it was amazing
Jul 24, 2011
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Feb 06, 2009
Malia rated it really liked it
Jul 15, 2014
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Mary Noel Streatfeild, known as Noel Streatfeild, was an author best known and loved for her children's books, including Ballet Shoes and Circus Shoes. She was born on Christmas Eve, 1895, the daughter of William Champion Streatfeild and Janet Venn and the second of six children to be born to the couple. Sister Ruth was the oldest, after Noel came Barbara, William ('Bill'), Joyce (who died of TB p ...more
More about Noel Streatfeild...

Other Books in the Series

Gemma (4 books)
  • Gemma and Sisters (Gemma, #2)
  • Gemma Alone (Gemma, #3)
  • Good-Bye, Gemma (Gemma, #4)

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