* Prices may differ from that shown
Multiple award-winning children's author and British mum Jacqueline Wilson, from Surrey, is my favourite. I read her books from a young age, and with something for everyone i naturally stumbled across the "Girls..." series, which include successful "Girls in Love", "Girls in Tears" and my signed "Girls Under Pressure". Overall, there are 4 books in the series.
Following normal teen, Ellie, girls (and boys, if you wish) can relate to her issues, problems and worries. Written in past tense and first person this is a no-nonsense, up in your face approach to understanding teen culture and relating to Wilson's readers. It is funny, witty and beautifully phrased.
The book is made up of chapters, which are entitled not with numbers, but with catchy, enticing words and illustrations by the wonderful and recognizable Nick Sharrett- who has done pictures for 99% of her wide collection of novels. The covers are a marvellous example of this- eye-catching, bold, colourful and perfect for its audience as usual.
Although published in before 2000 under Corgi Books, this is still a winner. This edition of the series refers to Ellies weight problems and distortions concerning her personality, body and friendships with (supposidly thinner) chums Madga and Nadine, all 13/14 years old. It truly reflects the issue of girls under pressure and Wilson deals with the issues Ellie finds herself very upset about very sensitivly, carefully and clearly so it is understood and able to connect with its reader.
Couldn't, and still can't- put it down.
The second of the 'Girls in Love' series looks at modern teen issues with eating, again from the main character Ellie's perspective. The book begins with a brief introduction to Ellie, her life and her friends and a recap of the events of the previous novel, so it's not really necessary to read the first in the series (although I recommend it!).
Eating disorders are quite taboo subjects, and to some extent it's difficult to assess what effect this writing would have on the individual reader. Even though it explores the problems and issues through a severely anorexic girl (Zoe) and Ellie's own troubles with food, it is possible that it would have an adverse effect on people with severe eating problems, triggering possible incidents or experiments. Additionally, it may prove too much for particularly sensitive readers, particularly as part of it is set in a mental hospital.
However, this is my favourite in the series; it's the most realistic, and also the most enjoyable in terms of plot development and use of interlinking story lines. It's also quite 'real' in its approach, despite the fact that the teachers seem keen to tell other students personal information about Zoe, the severe anorexic, which would never be allowed!
Similarly to the others in the series, this novel implicitly advocates a balanced, non-obsessive lifestyle and a healthy relationship with food and exercise. It is aimed at teenage (and slightly younger) girls with the aim to teach about life and its problems without getting incredibly heavy or teacher-like. Put simply, it stays grounded in the fiction genre, with the readers being left to judge and analyse characters' actions for themselves.
Overall, this is an interesting read way beyond the teenage years, but be careful about giving it as a gift to a younger/sensitive child, or one with strict parents.