Angus, Thongs, and Full-frontal Snogging (1999), by Louise Rennison

This novel has had a lot of hype; it is on many critics’ and librarians’ lists of “must reads” for young girls, but its status seems unwarranted upon reading it… The protagonist is not very likeable; I would not have wanted her for my friend as a teen.  She is inconsiderate and bossy towards her best friend; disrespectful and dishonest towards her parents; and thoughtless and self-centred in general.  He voice is perhaps authentic, but not engaging; and yet she gets the guy (sort of) in the end, without any learning process on her part.  It is not a novel of development or maturation, but rather a romp through 4th form at an all-girl’s school, replete with make-up, fashion, boys boys boys, and the ubiquitous snarkiness that authors attribute to girls of this age.  In terms of humour, Jeremy Strong’s Stuff (2005) is far superior… and in Stuff the protagonists actually learn something about themselves…

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