Girl, 15, Charming But Insane
by Limb, Sue

Fifteen-year-old Jess, living with her mum, separated from her father in Cornwall, and with a best friend who seems to do everything perfectly, finds her own assets through humor.

Sue Limb's writing career started in London around 1980, with various assignments for magazines and newspapers, and her first radio work, Big and Little, which won a Sony Award for Best Children's Programme.

Her children's books include Big and Little, China Lee, Me Jane, Big Trouble, and Mr Loopy and Mrs Snoopy. Come Back, Grandma is published by Random House UK and was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize. The author lives in England.

Gr. 7-9. Another in the recent British YA tradition of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (2000), Limb's novel features Jess Jordan, big of bum and small of boob, who covets her best friend Flora's body, beauty, and popularity. Jess is enamored with the unattainable Ben Johnson, and she is friends with Fred, the class clown and nerd. After Flora confesses a crush on Fred, Jess suddenly realizes what everyone else has known for years: she and Fred are perfect together! Limb's characters are memorable. Jess is funny although occasionally over the top; her dad, whom we meet via his daily horoscopes, which delineate the chapters, is funny, too, but unreliable; and her peacenik librarian mother is a source of both embarrassment and security. Most endearing is Fred, whose wit, integrity, intelligence, and outward confidence earn him the love and respect of his peers and probably of readers, too. Full of bawdy humor, this is a charming, easy read that handles issues of body image, popularity, and adolescent insecurity with humor. ((Reviewed September 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

Plucky and mouthy, Jess Jordan manages to get herself in a variety of messes, mostly having to do with boys. Convinced that she is hopeless compared to her best friend, Flora, she relies on her humor and dry wit to stay afloat. She soon finds that while her mouth can get her in trouble, it can also get her the kind of attention she wants. Romance blooms in improbable places as Jess makes it through a long spring full of funny adventures and lucky mishaps. A tendency towards an easy laugh keeps the story rolling, but also keeps it from reaching any depth. Timely references to pop culture will cause this one to date quickly, but an occasional well-crafted scene and witty dialogue help it along. Light and easy. (Fiction 12+) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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