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In this slangy, journal-style novel, Shiraz Bailey Wood, 15, lives in Essex and attends Mayflower Academy (generally known as Superchav Academy). She's a slacker at school and is behind much of the drama surrounding its official events (such as the fight that broke out at the Winter Festival). Everything is fine, though, until her best friend finds a new love interest and pushes Shiraz into the background; her sister and mother have a fight and Cava-Sue moves out; and a new, tough teacher comes to Mayflower Academy. Suddenly everything Shiraz knows is turned upside down and the only person she can tell is her new diary. This novel is packed with British slang and pop-culture references to the point of confusion. (A 14-page glossary is included.) Still, the plot is universal, proving that teenagers are the same worldwide. Shiraz is a witty and amusing narrator, and there are some laugh-out-loud moments.-Heather E. Miller, Homewood Public Library, AL
Sixteen-year-old Shiraz Bailey Wood wanted an iPod for Christmas but got a diary instead. "What is the point in spending all December drawing arrows all over the Argos catalogue if NO ONE TAKES NO NOTICE??" In her initial entry, Shiraz hopes (among other things) that her school, Mayflower Academy, will shake its reputation as Superchav Academy, because if there's one thing Shiraz can't stand, it's being called a chav—a British slang term that's defined as an insult to working-class people seen as being fixated on copying American street fashion. Although Shiraz denies the label, her tough attitude and wardrobe of hoop earrings and tracksuits makes it hard to deny. And when her teacher and her sister, Cava-Sue, point out that there is life beyond Mayflower Academy, Shiraz begins questioning her ways. Thick with British teen slang as the diary entries that comprise the text are, the appended glossary is essential. Their rough, street-wise language provides a natural and unique vehicle for readers to see Shiraz's self-exploration and growth. Hilarious and unflinching. (Fiction. YA)
Posted November 3, 2008
Originally published in Great Britain as TRAINERS VS. TIARAS, Grace Dent has crossed the Atlantic and now we are able to enjoy the rich adventures of Shiraz Bailey Wood. <BR/><BR/>Meet Shiraz. Most of the folks in her small town think she is a "chav." And if you're like me, you're wondering what in the world is a "chav" right? Fortunately, Ms. Dent supplies us poor American folk a glossary at the back of the book. A "chav" is a poor working class person in Britain. My first thought was, "OK, so this would be similar to our term trailer trash." I wasn't wrong! For in the definition Ms. Dent provides, she claims that being called a chav is a bit like calling someone trailer trash. So, having that out of the way, you can get the gist of the tone of the story. <BR/><BR/>Poor Shiraz is faced with the derogatory definition throughout the book. It starts off at Christmas time where she complains that she gets knock off trainers (sneakers for us Americans!) and a diary. She can't believe her grandma would even think of giving HER a diary. Is she nuts? But as the story unfolds, Shiraz comes to write down everything that happens over the course of the next year. <BR/><BR/>The diary format has been used before, that's nothing new. We've seen it THE PRINCESS DIARIES, BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY, and the Louise Rennison novels. But what makes DIARY OF A CHAV stand out is the unique way Ms. Dent has Shiraz tell her story. <BR/><BR/>Shiraz is a loudmouth and doesn't want to stand out at school. But when a new English teacher shows up and sees something in Shiraz, Shiraz finally starts to contemplate if there is more to life than just earning money at a job. Her year at school does a two-week work stint, and while working at a mind-numbingly boring job at a packing plant, Shiraz decides she will try to do the work at school. <BR/><BR/>While dealing with school, Shiraz also has troubles at home to deal with. Her mom and older sister are at odds and, to solve the problem, Shiraz writes to a Jerry Springer type show for help. Airing their dirty laundry on TV doesn't turn out the way Shiraz expects it to. <BR/><BR/>And to top all that off, her best friend, Carrie, has ditched her for her exciting new boyfriend, Bezzie. Shiraz doesn't think Bezzie is all that, but Carrie can't see beyond having such a grand guy, and the friendship starts to suffer. <BR/><BR/>For those expecting a book to flow elegantly and gracefully, DIARY OF A CHAV isn't that book. But if you're looking for a brutally honest look at the life of the teenager in working class England, this is your book. Shiraz is a breath of fresh air. She may irritate you at times with her disregard for authority, but in the end, she does choose the right path and you want to cheer for her when she does! <BR/><BR/>For more adventures of Shiraz, look for POSH AND PREJUDICE (SLING THE BLING in Great Britain) due out in June 2009. For those of you that absolutely can not wait, you can get your hands on this and more in the series from Great Britain.
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Posted April 30, 2013
Posted August 12, 2010
I ordered this book off the internet because after checking several ratings, it was rated quite high - 4 stars. I quite like how it started, with her describing how she didn't want a diary at all, but the rest just bored me. It's possible that it annoyed me as I didn't get the British humour, but I don't see how this could possibly be the main effect.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 31, 2009
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Posted January 10, 2010
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