Girl, 15, Charming but Insane

Girl, 15, Charming but Insane

4.7 43
by Sue Limb

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Life was tragic enough before this spring started. With a distinct lack of boobage and an arse so big that birds of prey could nest within its shadows, Jess Jordan is saddled with the Goddess Flora for a best friend, a Britney Spears look-alike so gorgeous that one grain of her divine dandruff could make the blind see again. Jess knows that her soul mate is Ben Jones,… See more details below


Life was tragic enough before this spring started. With a distinct lack of boobage and an arse so big that birds of prey could nest within its shadows, Jess Jordan is saddled with the Goddess Flora for a best friend, a Britney Spears look-alike so gorgeous that one grain of her divine dandruff could make the blind see again. Jess knows that her soul mate is Ben Jones, a divine mixture of Leonardo diCaprio, Prince William, and Brad Pitt who oozes mystery and charisma. But the campaign to get Ben to notice her brings on a cavalcade of mortification and disaster, including, but not limited to, a minestrone soup explosion that takes place in her bra and a schoolwide viewing of a videotape that features a topless Jess referring to her breasts as “Bonnie” and “Clyde.”

Meanwhile, Jess’s death-obsessed Granny moves into her bedroom, along with her grandfather’s remains; her hypochondriac dad, who sends her daily “horrorscopes” like “You will fall asleep with your mouth open, and a family of earwigs will move in,” acts strange about Jess staying with him this summer; and her longtime friend Fred, a television violence addict and closet thumbsucker, has decided that he can’t stand being around her. Jess is determined to make things right . . . but with her offbeat sense of humor and her wildly active imagination, things get complicated along the way.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In PW's words, "Sure to leave readers in stitches, this account of a British girl's mishaps and humiliations follows a protagonist who resembles a teenage Bridget Jones." Ages 10-up. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This book will no doubt be compared to Bridget Jones' Diary, and with good reason: it's written as the journal of a misfit-in-her-own-mind English gal who's at war with her own body and looking for love in all the wrong places. But Limb's story succeeds on its own as a hilariously droll and at times touching tale that hits all the usual teen-angst stops: parties, clothes, embarrassing parents and, of course, snogging. Jess Jordan marches to her own drummer, yet still longs to attract the attention of "beautiful Ben Jones," who "oozes mystery and charisma." Limb has created a character who is smart and worth knowing, even if she does not always use great judgment. After all, how many teen heroines would try to make their own bra enhancers out of plastic bags filled with soup? 2004, Delacorte Press, Ages 12 up.
—Donna Freedman
School Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
Plucky and mouthy, Jess Jordan manages to get herself in a variety of messes, mostly having to do with boys. Convinced that she is hopeless compared to her best friend, Flora, she relies on her humor and dry wit to stay afloat. She soon finds that while her mouth can get her in trouble, it can also get her the kind of attention she wants. Romance blooms in improbable places as Jess makes it through a long spring full of funny adventures and lucky mishaps. A tendency towards an easy laugh keeps the story rolling, but also keeps it from reaching any depth. Timely references to pop culture will cause this one to date quickly, but an occasional well-crafted scene and witty dialogue help it along. Light and easy. (Fiction 12+)

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
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462 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt


Her dad had sent one of his “horrorscopes.” But Jess wasn’t worrying about the werewolf in the cupboard under the stairs. She had a more immediate problem: the size of her bum. She stared at herself in the huge mirrors of the communal changing room at Togs R Us. She was wearing leopard-skin stretch pants. Did her bum look big in this? You can bet your sweet life it did.
Geographically, Jess’s backside was a mountain range. The sun rose over it–eventually. Huge birds of prey nested on its craggy heights and hunted in it shadows. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Jess’s bum had been balanced by a nice big bosom. Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Serena Williams were designed with this pleasing sense of balance. But geographically, Jess’s boobs could not balance her bum at all. Her chest was the kind of featureless plain upon which airports are constructed.
If only, thought Jess, some gifted cosmetic surgeon could slice off my bum and transplant it onto my chest, we’d be in business. Then she would have a majestic cleavage. It was wasted out back, under her jeans. Oh well. They say a clever choice of clothes can conceal bad features and emphasize one’s good points. But these leopard-skin stretch pants weren’t working. You don’t see leopards waddling heavily across the plains, do you? They tend to streak across in a streamlined kind of way.
“Flora,” asked Jess, “what’s my best feature?”
Flora was admiring herself in a cute little black top. A pink navel ring winked cheekily out above her gray hipsters. She looked divine. Flora’s dad didn’t know she’d had her navel pierced. If he ever found out, he would personally build a high stone tower and lock her up there until she was thirty. If that was what having a dad around meant, Jess thought, you could keep it.
“Your best feature?” Flora hesitated.
Oh God! thought Jess. She can’t think of a single thing.
“Your eyes are fantastic–and your neck–and your ears–and, well, you’re fabulous all over, Jess. You’re a babe.” Flora turned back with relief to the ravishing vision awaiting her in the mirror.
“But my bum is like some terrible gigantic Siamese twin!” wailed Jess. “It follows me around everywhere and gets stuck in doors.”
“Your bum is great!” cried Flora, but her voice went up just a little too high. “I wish I had a proper bum. I look like a boy.” Needless to say, Flora looked as much like a boy as a box of chocolates looks like a side of beef. Jess sighed.
Three hours later, having tried on approximately three thousand garments, Jess decided on a black top with plunging neckline and a strange shawl-like black skirt. “Gypsyish!” said Flora approvingly. “You look stunning, babe! Ben will see you as he’s never seen you before! Suddenly across a crowded room he will feel Cupid’s dart!” They’d been doing all about Cupid in English with Mr. Fothergill. They’d both tried to develop crushes on Mr. Fothergill, but he simply was too fat and sweaty. You could more easily fancy a hippo.
Jess doubted if Ben would fancy her despite the plunging neckline and gypsy skirt. Life was so unfair. Everybody fancied Ben no matter what he wore. Although Flora said she preferred his best friend, Mackenzie, who was dark and rather short. “It’s a biology thing,” she explained. “Blondes don’t fancy blond guys. It’s to avoid inbreeding.”
They parted, and Jess went back home to get ready. How could Jess cram it all into six hours? Jess’s house, of course, was empty except for dirty dishes. Her mother had gone off to demonstrate against the war. She did this every Saturday. There was usually a war to demonstrate against. Jess didn’t mind really. It kept her mum out of trouble and out of the way, and it was free. Just as long as she didn’t ever end up on TV, dancing for peace. Naked. This was Jess’s most nightmarish fantasy.
Having a mum who was often out on demos also permitted Jess to surf the Internet unchallenged by cries of “Get off that thing now! We’ll get a bill as long as my arm!” Jess did a search on lingerie. Soon she was in the slightly weird world of bra inserts–not just little cotton pads, but apparently bags containing water or silicone gel.
“Curves are made of a specially formulated silicone gel, enclosed in a sheer, skinlike polyurethane cover. This material was developed for space research and is extremely well tolerated by the skin.” Wait a minute! Space research? What would be the effect of nil gravity? Wouldn’t your boobs fly off in different directions? Jess didn’t like the concept of outer space. She liked to keep her feet firmly on the ground.
Thank God I’m an earth sign, thought Jess. What Jess needed now was water. She raced to the kitchen and found a roll of those small plastic bags mothers use to wrap up sandwiches. Jess filled a small plastic bag with water, tied it up tightly, and secured it with a rubber band. It was quite gel-like. Jess wobbled it around in her hand. It did indeed move rather like breast tissue. She didn’t have enough breast tissue of her own to have conducted personal research on the subject. But she had watched a lot of pop videos on MTV.
She wasn’t quite sure about the water, though. Perhaps a faint sloshing would be heard. And what if she sprang a leak? Jess shuddered at the thought of puddles on the floor. The jokes about potty training would last a lifetime. Maybe there was a food substance a little less watery than water. Jess ransacked the food cupboard, and her eyes fell on a tin of soup. Minestrone!
Getting it into the bags was a little bit more laborious and messy, but fifteen minutes later Jess had a cleavage. The bags of soup really worked. Amazing! She was going to have a ball! Now all she needed was a pumpkin coach; failing that, the number 109 bus would take her all the way to Tiffany’s. She just had to spend four and a half hours on her eyebrows first.

From the Hardcover edition.

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