* Prices may differ from that shown
Author: Claire Robertson
Publisher: Red Fox
Genre: Young Adult (funny / quirky)
Published: Feb 1999
I read this when I was a teenager, I believe it had come free with some teen magazine my sister bought and after she'd read it, I was given a chance to read it.
Instantly I found something I could relate to. The main character is Gillian 'Gilly' Freeborn, an almost fourteen year old who has to deal with some typical problems and issues when growing up. Everything from a chest that's flat, a father who is a little beyond crazy and a highly strung mother who has an obsession with shag carpets!
Throw in a mean, selfish older sister and a once-best friend who has now turned against her and already the teenage angst is flowing.
So what can make this bubbling pot of drama and hormones worse? Just 'THE VISION' who has transferred to her school and who Gilly Freeborn (proud feminist and all around not interested in the idiot boys of her age) is now madly in love with.
However as with many teenage love stories, this Vision doesn't even know she exists and as such Gilly is wracked with unrequited love.
To help her through Gilly turns to an agony aunt of a teenage magazine called Bizz. Alexa the agony Aunt is there, strength to turn to when all else turns to mush!
The novel is a good size, easy to read in a few hours and a lovely light-hearted read. Whether you are 15 or 50 I think you may enjoy this (I am 32 and still have a copy of this which I read whenever I am in a mood for light, whimsical drama!) :D
The story is not written like normal stories and applies the "diary-like" technique you may be familiar from such books as the Adrian Mole series. However instead of a diary, the story folds out through Gilly's letters to Alexa.
While we never see Alexa's responses, we have Gilly's next letter often responding to some usual "agony aunt" suggestion to a tormented teen.
So through private letters we see Gilly struggle with a mad family, a sister who is not only a man-eater but intent on ruining her more sensitive, creative sister as well as the machinations of the teachers at Langley High who attempt to thwart the creative passions and feminist attitudes of our young heroine!
Despite the age of the book and the lack of references to (things that didn't exist back then) such as ipods, Facebook and Twitter, there is no detraction of realism nor does it feel old or outdated. All the way you stand beside Gilly, cheering her on, commiserating and rallying. Often referred to as the female Adrian Mole, I say no - while I do like Adrian Mole, there is something much more loveable about Gilly Freeborn and as we non-teenagers read it, we relive our embarrassing moments, adolescent dramas and general angst.
You can get this on Amazon though it seems to be from more sellers on Amazon, than from Amazon itself so prices are from 7.18 down to 0.01.
There are two cover versions I am aware of, one is pale, with a picture of Gilly led on the bed penning another letter to Alexa or the newest "bright" version in a sickly bright pink with bubbly writing.
A great read for kids and adults alike!