Talking points

This page contains a list of questions that could start off a discussion about the issues that Control Freak raises. There are also some things that you can listen to.

Sound files


How true is Control Freak to real life? I talk to three young adults about their personal experiences of leaving care. Helen, Benni-Jo Tyler (parent, ex-care leaver and former leaving care worker) and Yanik Beya (ex-care leaver and regional worker for A National Voice) share their views. (This download is large! About 30 minutes)


Helen reads from Control Freak … Holly gets home to find her foster father waiting with bad news


Helen reads from Control Freak … Holly’s first night in her own place

Reading questions for Control Freak

I get asked a lot of questions about why I did this or that with the characters, but sometimes the only thing I can say in reply was ‘because that’s what the character wanted to do’. But I’m really interested to know what readers think about some of the issues.

Here are some of the questions I’ve been talking with young people about when we discuss the book.

  1. In Control Freak lots of things happen to the people around Holly – rather than to Holly herself. Why do you think I chose to write the book this way?
  2. Are there any characters in the book you relate to? Who’s your favourite character? Why?
  3. Do you think Holly is a control freak?
  4. Do you think this story rings true to life for young people who are in care or who’ve had to cope on their own?
  5. Holly is pretty tough on most of the adults around her, especially those who have some control over her life. What do you think about the social workers and foster carers in this book?
  6. There are some quite ‘difficult’ issues covered in this book. What did you think about the way the story handles the abuse of children and young people?
  7. Holly seems to be pretty much in control of issues like sex, drugs and alcohol. But some of the people around her aren’t so OK with these things. What do you think of the way the book handles these topics?
  8. What do you think about Sean? Why does he put up with the way Holly treats him?
  9. Who is Boots? (Bet you can’t remember this)