“ Genre: Junior Books / Author: Lisa Clark / 200 pages / Book published 2007-01-03 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd / Alternative title: Lola Love: Think Pink „
"... having a small chest is cool because (you get) to wear those to-die-for tight tees from the kids department that cost £2.99"
This was the line that did it for me. As a veteran shopper of such items (I have a whole wardrobe of age 11 t-shirts) I knew exactly where the author was coming from, and had a feeling I was going to like this book.
Lola Love is one fabulous chica. Together with her hipper-than-hip friends Sadie, Bella and Angel ("The Pink Ladies"), she sails through life in a world of glitter and sparkles with a permanently upbeat demeanour. Part biography, part self-help guide for those who have lost their way, Think Pink truly is "The ultimate 'go-for-it' guide for girls". Lola invites you to discover her down-right funky little life, to use her tales to reflect on your own life and to put into perspective any worries or problems you may have been having. Our heroine is frank, honest and not afraid to share, and that leads to a book which is much more approachable and open as a result. Add in a sprinkling of Lola-lingo ("chica", "parentals", "YOU-nique", "skirty-flirty", "oh my stars" and the slightly dubious "j'adore mostest") and you have a character who really starts to come to life. With a kooky view of the world and a unique take on things, Lola likes to tell you her thoughts on just about everything:
"(Boys) are like a coffee crème, they look nice, you think you're going to like them but, in fact they make you feel slightly icky."
The chapters cover all the typical topics critical to many teen and pre-teen girls: friendships, boys, happiness, self-confidence, dreams and plans for the future. A lot of the advice is interestingly on a par with what you would come across in "serious" management / life-makeover books as Lola suggests, for example, that you should try writing down lists of life goals and working out the steps needed to accomplish them, or making sure you can identify suitable mentors and role models in the area you aspire to. The chatty tone of this book makes the proper, grown-up advice that creeps in all that much easier to take and less like a lecture. I was amazed at how easily the topics of healthy exercise, bullying and peer pressure slotted in in a subtle and natural way.
"'Be prepared' isn't just a motto for those dudes in cute shorts who tie knots, it's your one-way ticket to success."
The book is not a challenge to get through as the illustrations are lively, the tone is upbeat (who would expect anything less from Lola Love?) and the chapters are presented in an interactive way. There are quizzes to help you work out where you currently are, and perhaps where you want to be, song lists to inspire you and pages to fill in ideas of your own on everything from your top ten reasons why being single rocks to a self-analysis of how you rate as a mate. The fact that each chapter focuses on short, mainly stand-alone anecdotes rather than a long-running story also makes it easy to dip in and out of.
When there's a choice of what situation you might be in, Lola Love tends to be in the typically less desirable one, but then shows how you can still make it work. Sure, you might not have or want a boyfriend or have a clue as to what you want to do with your life, but if you just remember to Think Pink you'll be able to see the positives in any situation. In fact, this is a very positive book all round with a clear message that girls should be themselves rather than try to be something they're not, and that "different" is not mad/bad/dangerous.
"Success isn't just for the select few, y'know, it's for those who are willing to put in the time and effort required to make it happen."
If I had to put an age on it, I'd recommend this for top juniors and the first few years of secondary school. It's a tough one due to the range of topics covered although the language is not a problem and confident primary school readers I'm sure could enjoy it. There's advice in the book that I identify with and may, as a 20-something, even take on board (dealing with stress, the importance of preparation, career planning, why you should never underestimate the power of a hit ballad and a bubble bath) and these areas are covered in a relatively mature way that I'm sure 6th formers could relate to. At the same time, I found the chapter on relationships with boys in particular seemed to be pitched at a, let's say, more innocent age range. Lola is 14 years old which I suppose is a guide that girls up to and about this age would be the perfect audience. All this taken into account, it's an interesting entry onto the teen/tween book market and I'm sure it will be popular, especially with the more pink and sparkly girls out there, and those who would like to be more pink and sparkly than they currently are.
This review first appeared on The Bookbag. Originally published in 2007, you can invest in Lola's wisdom for a mere 1p on Amazon.
You can also find Lola loitering here: http://www.lolasland.com/