Young Adults: Angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging

If the words "thongs" and "snogging" splashed across the front cover of a book about teenage girls aren't enough to get you sitting up straight, then the first chapter certainly will. The narrator shaves off her eyebrows and attends a party dressed as a stuffed olive. And that's not all.

Welcome to the world of Georgia Nicolson - sassy, British, and 14. Dubbed the "Bridget Jones's Diary" for teens, this first book from comedy-writer Louise Rennison, totes us along for a year in one 14-year-old's zany life.

Rennison's Georgia worries about kissing boys, knows far more than her parents, and thinks fashion magazines still have something to say about the meaning of life. Through her eyes, being a teenage girl is just like it is - awkward, obsessive, and shamelessly boy crazy. There's little plot, but who needs plot when you have a lippy teenager. She's often crass, politically incorrect, and downright unladylike.

What tempers Georgia is an honesty, and a wit that often sounds more like an adult poking fun at her teenage self. Which is exactly what it is. It's a refreshing contrast to the airbrushed perfection of the Sweet Valleys and Dawson's Creeks of teen media.

The adults in the crowd shouldn't let the "ages 12 and up" designation, and louder-than-a-pack-of-squealing-teenagers lime green cover frighten them off, either. When this reviewer loosened up enough to forget about her professional image and quit hiding the title with her hand, she found herself shamelessly hooting with delight.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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