Reviews for Girl, 15, Charming But Insane


Booklist Reviews 2004 September #2
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.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Spring
Teen angst and comedy run rampant in this novel about fifteen-year-old Jess, who is in love with Ben (but can't think of anything halfway intelligent to say to him) and jealous of her perfect best friend, Flora. Though the third-person narration seems at odds with the novel's intimate tone, Jess's personality is strong enough to draw readers in. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 July #2
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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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 August #3
Sure to leave readers in stitches, Limb's (Come Back, Grandma) account of a British girl's mishaps and humiliations follows a protagonist who resembles a teenage Bridget Jones. The novel, told in a third-person narrative, gets into the psyche of Jess Jordan, who describes herself as "girl, fifteen, charming, but insane, huge bum, massive ears" and compares herself to her all-too-perfect best friend, Flora Barclay ("Somehow the birds never pooed on Flora's house. It was a sign that the Barclay family were the Chosen Ones"). While good luck comes as easily to Flora as good looks, Jess thinks of herself as hopelessly flawed (especially her chest, which she describes as "the kind of featureless plain upon which airports are constructed"). Her attempt to enhance her bust line-by fashioning silicone-like bags from minestrone soup-fails miserably when a lecherous schoolmate causes one of the bags to explode at a party. Jess flees to the bathroom where, she later learns, a hidden video camera captures her clean-up efforts. On the bright side, Jess has a kind of guardian angel in Fred Parsons, a scraggly-haired classmate whom Jess takes for granted. Unfortunately, by the time Jess realizes her true feelings for Fred, she may have lost him to Flora. In this fast-paced slice-of-life novel, Jess emerges as "everyteen," jealous of her best friend's virtues, critical of her own shortcomings and seeking goals that often turn out not to be what she wanted. Most readers will see a little of themselves in Jesse as she rides waves of disaster and manages to stay afloat. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 July #3
In PW's words, "Sure to leave readers in stitches, this account of a British girl's mishaps and humiliations follows a protagonist who resembles a teenage Bridget Jones." Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 September
Gr 7-10-In this first book in a proposed trilogy, readers are introduced to Jess Jordan, her friend Flora, a few love interests, and Jess's mom, grandma, and absent father whose funny e-mailed horoscopes begin each chapter. The book has a fun cover and the plot is well paced, ending on a cliff-hanger leaving plenty of threads to be answered in the next book. These junior Bridget Joneses have plenty of charm: Will Jess pine for dreamy Brad or realize that her good friend Fred is the man for her? The way the author handles the situation and adds a few levels of conflict and a few possible love triangles will have readers ready for the second installment. This title will appeal to fans of Meg Cabot, Louise Rennison, and others who like heroines who have a little vinegar to go with their sugar.-Amy Patrick, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2004 August
With a best friend who looks like Britney Spears, a crush on the most desirable boy in school, and soup in her bra, Jess Jordan sets off to survive high school. Unfortunately for her, the plans that she makes to succeed do not always come to fruition. In fact, they rarely seem to work out right. For example, consider her attempt at cleavage. Instead of paying a lot of money for a silicone gel bra, she decides that minestrone soup in plastic bags will serve the same purpose. And it is a good plan-until one of them explodes at a party. Jess's dream in life is to do stand-up comedy, and when her best friend gets to perform her act to wild applause, Jess has to decide what she wants most in life-friends, a gorgeous boy, or her comedy Limb creates a likeable heroine in Jess, even if every scheme she tries somehow ends up in ruin. Add to this likeable heroine a crush on the cutest, but as she soon discovers, the dullest boy in school, and the result is a fairly typical slapstick teen high school survival story. There is nothing new here, and the troubles are wrapped up conveniently and quickly at the end, but those enthralled with the current chick-lit trend will be thrilled to find yet another entry in the genre.-Lynn Evarts PLB $17.99. ISBN 0-385-90244-1. 3Q 3P S Copyright 2004 Voya Reviews.

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