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Girl, 15, Charming But Insane


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About the Author

Sue Limb's writing career started in London around 1980, with various assignments for magazines and newspapers, and her first radio work, Big and Little, which won a Sony Award for Best Children's Programme.

Her children's books include Big and Little, China Lee, Me Jane, Big Trouble, and Mr Loopy and Mrs Snoopy. Come Back, Grandma is published by Random House UK and was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize. The author lives in England.


Sure to leave readers in stitches, Limb's (Come Back, Grandma) account of a British girl's mishaps and humiliations follows a protagonist who resembles a teenage Bridget Jones. The novel, told in a third-person narrative, gets into the psyche of Jess Jordan, who describes herself as "girl, fifteen, charming, but insane, huge bum, massive ears" and compares herself to her all-too-perfect best friend, Flora Barclay ("Somehow the birds never pooed on Flora's house. It was a sign that the Barclay family were the Chosen Ones"). While good luck comes as easily to Flora as good looks, Jess thinks of herself as hopelessly flawed (especially her chest, which she describes as "the kind of featureless plain upon which airports are constructed"). Her attempt to enhance her bust line-by fashioning silicone-like bags from minestrone soup-fails miserably when a lecherous schoolmate causes one of the bags to explode at a party. Jess flees to the bathroom where, she later learns, a hidden video camera captures her clean-up efforts. On the bright side, Jess has a kind of guardian angel in Fred Parsons, a scraggly-haired classmate whom Jess takes for granted. Unfortunately, by the time Jess realizes her true feelings for Fred, she may have lost him to Flora. In this fast-paced slice-of-life novel, Jess emerges as "everyteen," jealous of her best friend's virtues, critical of her own shortcomings and seeking goals that often turn out not to be what she wanted. Most readers will see a little of themselves in Jesse as she rides waves of disaster and manages to stay afloat. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Gr 7-10-In this first book in a proposed trilogy, readers are introduced to Jess Jordan, her friend Flora, a few love interests, and Jess's mom, grandma, and absent father whose funny e-mailed horoscopes begin each chapter. The book has a fun cover and the plot is well paced, ending on a cliff-hanger leaving plenty of threads to be answered in the next book. These junior Bridget Joneses have plenty of charm: Will Jess pine for dreamy Brad or realize that her good friend Fred is the man for her? The way the author handles the situation and adds a few levels of conflict and a few possible love triangles will have readers ready for the second installment. This title will appeal to fans of Meg Cabot, Louise Rennison, and others who like heroines who have a little vinegar to go with their sugar.-Amy Patrick, New York Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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