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Girl, Barely 15: Flirting for England by Sue…
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Girl, Barely 15: Flirting for England

by Sue Limb

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Reviewed by Marie Robinson for TeensReadToo.com

This is a book with a great sense of humor. It's a story about 15-year-old Jess, who lives in England and hosts a French exchange student for two weeks. The basic plot revolves around Jess and how she and her friends react to their temporary French invasion (every student in Jess' French class hosts an exchange student), but the real story is about a young teenager finding her way among her friends, accepting herself, and maneuvering through the usual crushes and teen angst that every girl experiences. What stands out here is that where many girls would wilt in the face of conflict, Jess always holds her ground and is true to herself. In that way, she is quite the role model.

This novel is a good introduction for teens and pre-teens into the chick lit genre. Unlike some critics, I like chick lit �" usually. The genre is categorized by smart characters, an engaging plot, a smart sense of humor, with a little escapism thrown in. When done right, chick lit novels are reminders that reading is supposed to be fun.

Jess is never given a physical description. This allows the reader to imagine herself as Jess. She is not the prettiest or most popular girl in school, but she is pretty enough, she is smart, she is a good friend, and even though she doesn't get the boy she has her eye on, she still remains the heroine of her own story.

The one decent teenage boy in the story, who is also the only friend with whom Jess can truly be herself, is sadly a somewhat stock gay male sidekick character. And while Jess has a good relationship with her parents, they are somewhat dim. At times I had to wonder exactly who was parenting whom. But, while Jess' parents aren't the strongest characters, they did share an obvious and genuine affection for their kid, which is nice to see.

While the plot is lively and the pacing fast, the real star of this story is the language. Sue Limb has a knack for writing smart, witty dialogue that at times relegates the plot to just details. Read this book for the humor and you won't be disappointed. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385735383, Hardcover)

Jess Jordan is barely 15. Fred is her often-aggravating best guy friend; her father is a lonely bachelor; Flora is her gorgeous best friend, a constant liability; and Ben Jones is barely a twinkle in her eye. Into this innocent scene are dropped 30 or so helpless French exchange students. Jess and her mother are assigned to house Eduoard, a shy, awkward, and painfully English-deprived boy Jess’s age. To counter what Jess fears is Eduoard’s growing crush on her, Jess convinces her friend Fred to pose as her boyfriend, but he refuses to take their fake relationship seriously. Add a gorgeous, womanizing French student, an ill-fated camping trip in a student’s backyard, and Flora just being, well, Flora, and you have all the makings of an international incident. Will Jess be able to keep the peace, or even translate the whole debacle to the confused French students? The future of England is on the line. . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Jess Jordan is barely 15. Fred is her often-aggravating best guy friend; her father is a lonely bachelor; Flora is her gorgeous best friend, a constant liability; and Ben Jones is barely a twinkle in her eye. Into this innocent scene are dropped 30 or so helpless French exchange students. Jess and her mother are assigned to house Eduoard, a shy, awkward, and painfully English-deprived boy Jess's age. To counter what Jess fears in Eduoard's growing crush on her, Jess convinces her friend Fred to pose as her boyfriend, but he refuses to take their fake relationship seriously. Add a gorgeous, womanizing French student, an ill-fated camping trip in a student's a backyard, and Flora just being, well, Flora, and you have all the makings of an international incident. Will Jess be able to keep the peace, or even translate the whole debacle to the confused French students?… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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