Girls in Love

Girls in Love

4.5 25
by Jacqueline Wilson

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Ellie’s starting ninth grade and she’s got some very definite goals. She’ll stay best friends with Magda and Nadine. She’ll go on a diet and stick to it. She’ll get a glamorous hairstyle. And she’ll get a boyfriend. Even if she has to settle for one who likes her more than she likes him. Any guy will do, right?

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Ellie’s starting ninth grade and she’s got some very definite goals. She’ll stay best friends with Magda and Nadine. She’ll go on a diet and stick to it. She’ll get a glamorous hairstyle. And she’ll get a boyfriend. Even if she has to settle for one who likes her more than she likes him. Any guy will do, right?

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Wilson's (The Story of Tracy Beaker) fast-paced first book in the Girlfriends Trilogy, ninth-grader Ellie describes why she's "feeling so fed up" and the sticky situations in which she finds herself. Ellie's first-person narration possesses a Bridget Jones-like energy and compulsiveness. Her constant obsession with her weight gets old, but her loathing of teachers, family and herself will feel familiar. Ellie's relationship with her two best friends, Nadine and Magda, and especially with nerdy Dan, whom she meets on holiday, serve as good models without being didactic. Feeling jealous after hearing about Nadine's new older boyfriend and Magda's summer flirtations, Ellie pretends that Dan is her boyfriend, though she substitutes his looks with those of a cute boy she's crushing on. As Dan expresses his romantic feelings for her through the letters they exchange, it becomes obvious that she won't be able to keep up her farce forever. Meanwhile, Nadine's boyfriend pressures Nadine for sex, and there's tension between Ellie's dad and stepmother. The short lists at the end of each chapter (like "nine most embarrassing moments") give readers insight into Ellie's past and her character. There are tender moments, such as when the heroine visits heartbroken Nadine, and the funny narrative, filled with British colloquialisms, and clever exchanges with Dan make this a breezy read. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
"In this fast-paced first book in the Girlfriends Trilogy, ninth-grader Ellie describes why she's `feeling so fed up' and the sticky situations in which she finds herself. Tender moments and clever exchanges make for a breezy read," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2002: This series is like a British version of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series. Here the protagonist is hot-tempered Ellie, who in the first book is just starting ninth grade. She lives with her father, her stepmother, and her younger brother Eggs; she has two best friends, Magda and Nadine; and she dreams of becoming a graphic artist. Like Naylor, Wilson deals with the road bumps of adolescence with insight and humor. In the first book, Ellie is dying to have a boyfriend, has a crush on a handsome boy, and ends up friends—and perhaps more—with the not-so-handsome but sweet Dan. Gossipy and realistic, addressing serious issues as well as clothes and crushes, this series, though somewhat predictable, will appeal to younger girls. The British slang shouldn't pose much of a problem for American readers. (Book One in the Girls Quartet). KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1997, Random House, 181p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Ellie begins ninth grade with a detention for being late for English class. It's bad enough that one of her best friends has an older boyfriend and that the other one is supremely confident, but to start the school year off on such a sour note adds insult to injury. Feeling desperate and fat in comparison to her willowy pals, she transforms an unrequited crush that a younger, geeky guy has on her into a story of a sweeping romance with a gorgeous 15-year-old who lives far away. Ellie's story gets a little out of hand until Dan, who shows up at a party in London where she lives, of course turns out to be nicer, funnier, and more heroic than she had anticipated. Instead of viewing him as an object of derision, she finds herself appreciating his better qualities and realizing that it's what's inside a person that really matters. This British version of a formulaic teen romance has all the stock characters but will appeal to readers who enjoy the familiar and can empathize with Ellie's insecurities and the trials of ninth grade. Colloquialisms add a bit of authenticity to the novel. Wilson inserts lists of "nines" between chapters, such as "nine wishes," "nine things I hate about school," "nine unexpected odd facts," etc., which carry on the theme of ninth grade.-Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Hard on the heels of Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (not reviewed) and that ilk, three 13-year-olds face life and boys in this first of the trilogy published in England in 1997 (Girls Under Pressure and Girls Out Late will follow). Ellie is the narrator, small, round, and determined to find a boyfriend. Her two best friends are the Goth Nadine and the glam Magda, and the girls' unaffected relationships with each other ring very true. Ellie's voice is sharp and self-involved, and readers will cringe with embarrassment with her over her chronic lateness to school, the boy she meets on holiday in Wales with his terrible hair, and other standard adolescent misadventures. Nadine gets involved with a much older boy, Ellie goes to her first couple of parties and crashes her first club, and she learns a bit more than she wanted to know about her dad and stepmom's relationship. Ellie's narrative is interspersed with funny little lists of nine things: nine wishes; nine dreams; and nine most embarrassing moments, which provide both giggles and heart-tugging moments. With its hot pink cover, no boys will be caught dead picking this up, which is too bad, for they would learn a lot if they did. (Fiction. 12-15)
From the Publisher
"Tender moments . . . and the funny narrative, filled with British colloquialisms, and clever exchanges . . . make this a breezy read.” -- Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Book One of the GIRLS Trilogy
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
148 KB
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

One Girl

The first day back at school. I'm walking because I missed the bus. Not a good start. Year Nine. I wonder what it'll be like.

Number nine, number nine, number nine . . .

It's on that classic Beatles White Album, the crazy mixed-up bit at the end. I've always felt close to John Lennon even though he died before I was born. I like him because he did all those crazy little drawings and he wore granny glasses and he was funny and he always just did his own thing. I do crazy little drawings and I wear granny glasses and my friends think I'm funny. I don't get the opportunity to do my own thing, though.

It's half past eight. If I was doing my own thing right now I'd be back in bed, curled up, fast asleep. John Lennon had lie-ins, didn't he, when he and Yoko stayed in bed all day. They even gave interviews to journalists in bed. Cool.

So, if I could do my own thing I'd sleep till midday. Then breakfast. Hot chocolate and doughnuts. I'd listen to music and fool around in my sketchbook. Maybe watch a video. Then I'd eat again. I'd send out for a pizza. Though maybe I should stick to salads. I guess it would be easy to put on weight lying around in bed all day. I don't want to end up looking like a beached whale.

I'll have a green salad. And green grapes. And what's a green drink? There's that liqueur I sipped round at Magda's, creme de menthe. I can't say I was that thrilled. It was a bit like drinking toothpaste. Forget the drink.

I'll phone Magda, though, and Nadine, and we'll have a long natter. And then . . .

Well, it'll be the evening now, so I'll have a bath and wash my hair and change into . . . What should I wear in bed? Not my own teddy-bear nightie. Much too babyish. But I don't fancy one of those slinky satin numbers. I know, I'll wear a long white gown with embroidered roses all colors of the rainbow, and I'll put a big flash ring on every finger and lie flat in my bed like Frida Kahlo. She's another one of my heroes, this amazing Mexican artist with extraordinary eyebrows and earrings and flowers in her hair.

OK, there I am, back in bed and looking beautiful. Then I hear the door opening. Footsteps. It's my boyfriend coming to see me. . . .

The only trouble is I haven't got a boyfriend. Well, I haven't got a Frida Kahlo outfit or a bedside phone or my own television and video and my bed sags because my little brother, Eggs, uses it as a trampoline whenever I'm not around. I could put up with all these deprivations. I'd just like a boyfriend. Please.

Just as I'm thinking this a beautiful blond boy with big brown eyes comes sauntering round a car parked partly on the pavement. He steps to one side to get out of my way, only I've stepped the same way. He steps to the other side. So do I! We look like we're doing a crazy kind of two-step.

"Oh. Whoops. S-sorry!" I stammer. I feel my face flooding scarlet.

He stays cool, one eyebrow slightly raised. He doesn't say anything but he smiles at me.

He smiles at me!

Then he walks neatly past while I dither, still in a daze.

I look back over my shoulder. He's looking back at me. He really is. Maybe . . . maybe he likes me. No, that's mad. Why should this really incredible guy who must be at least eighteen think anything of a stupid schoolgirl who can't even walk past him properly?

He's not looking up. He's looking down. He's looking at my legs! Oh, God, maybe my skirt really is too short. I turned it up myself last night. Anna said she'd shorten it for me, but I knew she'd only turn it up a centimeter or so. I wanted my skirt really short. Only I'm not that great at sewing. The hem went a bit bunchy. When I tried the skirt back on there suddenly seemed a very large amount of chubby pink leg on show.

Anna didn't say anything but I knew what she was thinking.

Dad was more direct: "For God's sake, Ellie, that skirt barely covers your knickers!"

"Honestly!" I said, sighing. "I thought you tried to be hip, Dad. Everyone wears their skirts this length."

It's true. Magda's skirt is even shorter. But her legs are long and lightly tanned. She's always moaning about her legs, saying she hates the way the muscle sticks out at the back. She used to do ballet and tap, and she still does jazz dancing. She moans but she doesn't mean it. She shows her legs off every chance she gets.

Nadine's skirts are short too. Her legs are never brown. They're either black when she's wearing her opaque tights or white when she has to go to school. Nadine can't stand getting suntanned. She's a very gothic girl with a vampire complexion. She's very willowy as well as white. Short skirts look so much better with slender legs.

It's depressing when your two best friends in all the world are much thinner than you are. It's even more depressing when your stepmother is thinner too. With positively model girl looks. Anna is only twenty-seven and she looks younger. When we go out together people think we're sisters. Only we don't look a bit alike. She's so skinny and striking. I'm little and lumpy.

I'm not exactly fat. Not really. It doesn't help having such a round face. Well, I'm round all over. My tummy's round and my bum is round. Even my stupid knees are round. Still, my chest is round too. Magda has to resort to a Wonder Bra to get a proper cleavage and Nadine is utterly flat.

I don't mind my top. I just wish there was much less of my bottom. Oh, God, what must I look like from the back view? No wonder he's staring.

I scuttle round the corner, feeling such a fool. My legs have gone so wobbly it's hard to walk. They look as if they're blushing too. Look at them, pink as hams. Who am I kidding? Of course I'm fat. The waistband on my indecently short skirt is uncomfortably tight. I've got fatter this summer, I just know I have. Especially these last three terrible weeks at the cottage.

It's so unfair. Everyone else goes off on these really glamorous jaunts abroad. Magda went to Spain. Nadine went to America. I went to our damp dreary cottage in Wales. And it rained and it rained and it rained. I got so bored sitting around playing infantile games of Snap and Old Maid with Eggs and watching fuzzy telly on the black-and-white portable and tramping through a sea of mud in my wellies that I just ate all the time.

From the Hardcover edition.

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