April 16, 2007

Slightly Insane, Basically Just Jess

I truly enjoyed the Jess Jordan trilogy: Girl, 15, Charming But Insane, and its sequels Girl, (Nearly) 16, Absolute Torture, and finally Girl, Going on 17, Pants on Fire.

The incredibly crazed Jess Jordan is a delightfully batty British teen who once thought it a keen idea to create false boobs with -- of course -- bags of liquid. (Plastic surgeons have done this for years, but it's doubtful that any of them have ever resorted to minestrone soup.) Out of one disaster and into another Jess staggers, trying desperately not only to stay afloat in the world of high school, with its quick alliances and quicker betrayals, but to be visible in her own friendship. Jess's best friend Flora is perfect - with her stunningly blonde hair and blue eyes, Jess wavers between wanting to pull her head off and bat it to left field, and loving her fiercely, even while worrying she'll always play second, even with her quick wit and funny one-liners. Gorgeous Flora one-ups Jess every time the incredible Ben Johnson is in the room; surely he'll never notice Jess. In the end, Jess isn't sure if that matters...

On the home front, Jess' concerns with her mother -- a rather over-involved, abrasively opinionated librarian, her grandmother, who has just moved in -- along with her Grandpa, though he's in an urn -- and her father -- loving but distant, though he texts her daily with hilarious horror-scopes -- all add their insanity. Only her best boy-buddy, Fred, with his wretched poet-style hair (which Jess is dying to cut) remains a constant -- and then even he gets a little nuts.

The mysteries involving Ben, Jess's father, and the difficulties in forming a relationship and keeping on the good side of teachers and principals will keep readers busy laughing through all three of Sue Limb's scattered and nutty books. "Charming but insane" is a perfect way to describe the series.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I adored the first two books. Sheer fun. Haven't gotten to the third yet, but I'm glad someone else out there knows about them!