LBD: It's a Girl Thing

LBD: It's a Girl Thing

by Grace Dent

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Ronnie, Fleur, and Claude are the LBD—Les Bambinos Dangereuses. These best friends are hip, feisty, and ready for the Astlebury Music Festival, a weekend of music, dancing, and guy watching. Except for one thing -- their fun-hating, ogre parents won't let them go. To save their social lives the girls come up with a brilliant plan. They'll put on a concert of


Ronnie, Fleur, and Claude are the LBD—Les Bambinos Dangereuses. These best friends are hip, feisty, and ready for the Astlebury Music Festival, a weekend of music, dancing, and guy watching. Except for one thing -- their fun-hating, ogre parents won't let them go. To save their social lives the girls come up with a brilliant plan. They'll put on a concert of their own, featuring their school's finest talent (and hottest guys). But staging a music festival isn't easy, especially when the LBD's sworn enemy, Panama Goodyear, is the headline act. Panama threatens to steal the spotlight as well as Ronnie's crush, Jimi. It's up to the LBD to use their sass, class, and humor to make Blackwell Live a huge success, complete with post-concert snogging and all. With LBD in charge—it's not just a girl thing; it's the best thing! Barred by their overprotective parents from attending a rock music festival, fourteen-year-olds Ronnie, Fleur, and Claude, also known as "Les Bambinos Dangereuses," decide to stage their own music festival at Blackwell School.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Three British 14-year-old best friends (Les Bambinos Dangereuses) can't get permission to go to a summer rock concert, so they decide to throw their own, featuring the best bands from their school. "A satisfyingly entertaining, fun, breezy novel," wrote PW. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Move over Georgia and Angus, the LBD is taking over! Meet Fleur, Claude, and Ronnie, the sassy and sophisticated fourteen-year-old Brits who comprise the Les Bambinos Dangereuses, otherwise known as the LBD. Banned from attending the ultra-cool Astlebury Music Festival by their parents, the LBD decides to host Blackwell Live, a musical festival to showcase their school's talent, the proceeds going to charity. After winning over their skeptical headmaster and securing financial backing from Fleur's James Bond-obsessed father, the LBD is on their way to planning the party of the year. The road to success is never easy and the LBD encounters many obstacles along the way, namely Blackwell's own diva-in-training, Panama Goodyear, whose group Catwalk is not afraid to commit extortion to get top billing. Nevertheless, in typical LBD style, the girls keep their cool and pull off an unforgettable event. Narrated by Ronnie, the least confident member of the trio, the LBD's story has all the right ingredients for a hit teen novel: larger-than-life protagonists, sparkling dialogue, and enormous teen appeal. Forget booktalking. The controversial cover art-depicting a denim-clad derrière with the t-bar of a thong showing and an LBD tattoo on the upper right cheek-will single-handedly sell this book and possibly raise a few eyebrows in conservative communities. Teen girls will have no trouble relating to Ronnie's insecurities, and the subplot dealing with her mother's departure from home is equally as compelling as the main plot in this strongly recommended purchase. It is a must-buy. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined asgrades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, G. P. Putnam's, 288p,
— Aimee Lurie
Children's Literature
When their no-fun parents won't allow Ronnie, Claude, and Fleur to attend a nearby music festival, the fourteen-year-old decides to produce a concert at their school. Soon the LBD (Les Bambinos Dangereuses) find themselves grappling with an uptight headmaster, cutthroat contestants, and financial ruin. Meanwhile main character Ronnie mopes over unattainable guitarist Jimi. After a frantically busy week, Ronnie realizes that her mother has moved out. This is shattering, but Claude and Fleur patch her up with news of huge ticket sales. With the help of their not-so-hopeless dads, hot lads from across town, and a mysterious stranger, they pull off a smashing concert. Ronnie's parents and Jimi all come to their senses and mend Ronnie's heart. This boisterous "chick lit" is redeemed by skillful comic writing and creative insults ("She's two chicken wings short of a buffet.").With a light touch, Dent exposes the fickleness of boys and parents and the stunning ruthlessness of teen rivalry. U.S. teens will soon get the gist of the British slang and begin wittering on, snogging, and laughing like drains. 2003, Penguin Putnam, Ages 12 to Adult.
— Ann Philips
Here is another engagingly wacky narrator from Great Britain; think of the Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison; created by a contributor to British teen magazines and column writer for the Guardian and More! magazine. Dent seems totally comfortable with her teenage characters, and their style, language, and interests. LBD, by the way, stands for Les Bambinos Dangereuses, three girlfriends, one of whom is Ronnie (Veronica), the narrator of this tale. The girls fail to get permission from their parents to attend a rock festival that would entail their staying overnight, so instead they plan a festival at their school, which turns out to be wildly successful. All of this happens quickly, within days, and Ronnie tells about everything; parents, clothes, teachers, boyfriends, hopes and fears; at a mad pace, with brutal honesty. She talks like this: "Lawrence "Loz" Ripperton (aka "Dad" or "Keeper of the Wallet") doesn't like arguing. He's all about peace and love, is my old man. It's a good job really, as in our household: 1) I quite enjoy a good row and 2) Mum positively relishes a proper bust-up." One of the LBD is Fleur, who is gorgeous and has boys always interested in her. The other LBD is Claude (Claudette), a successful student who manages to hide her pranks behind her wonderful reputation. The antics the three get up to are harmless, really, and for all their talk, the girls actually have very little interest in sex beyond "snogging" (kissing) their boyfriends. This will be a big hit with all the readers who enjoy madcap narratives. KLIATT Codes: JS; Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Penguin Putnam, 275p.,
— Claire Rosser
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-The three LBDs (Les Bambinos Dangereuses) want to attend the Astlebury Music Festival but, alas, are forbidden to go. Ronnie, Fleur, and Claudette have hit a wall and their parents refuse to budge, so it's no music, no partying, and, most of all, no "million totally lush festival-going boys." The three 14-year-olds devise a plan, though-they will stage their own music festival as part of the school's Summer Garden Party-but the project details prove much more difficult than they anticipated. Complicating matters are boyfriend lust, a school principal, temperamental artists, and, of course, parents. The characters are well drawn and appealing with their typical teenage foibles, and the plot, which moves at a steady pace, is a nice mix of humor and seriousness. Dent's first novel is a delightful read and easily makes the transition from England to America. Fans of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging (HarperCollins, 2000) and Ann Brashares's The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Delacorte, 2001) will welcome this book.-Janet Hilbun, formerly at Sam Houston Middle School, Garland, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Stymied from attending the Astlebury Music Festival by their parents, three British girls in Year 9-they call themselves Les Bambinos Dangereuses-decide to have their own. Surprisingly, they garner permission from the headmaster to host Blackwell Live. At first, this is relentlessly hip and snide as Ronnie, short for Veronica Ripperton, introduces her parents, her friends, her crushes, and her music. Fleur is a gorgeous boy magnet, with snogging (twirly tongues and all) usually leading to heartbreak. Claude, short for Claudette, is an angelic-looking overachiever with a penchant for getting the other girls into trouble. About midpoint when the characters have been introduced and the plans for the festival are rolling, the subplot of Ronnie's bickering parents gets more focus and the aggravating slang lightens up to make the second half more enjoyable. A Rennison imitation, or in LBD terms, not quite as big a "fat sack of flatulent poo-flavored mess" as it starts out to be. (Fiction. YA)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
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Penguin Group
File size:
271 KB
Age Range:
12 - 16 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
life is harsh…

"Nope. No way. Absolutely not. Not over my dead body, matey."

Negotiations with Dad about my summer holiday plans have hit an all-time low. In fact, unless I'm much mistaken, Dad's turned his back on me and shuffled halfway across the saloon bar in the Fantastic Voyage public house.

He's fiddling with beer mats and urgently rearranging slices of lemon, almost as if my fate is decided. Now, my friends, this is NOT the air of a man "carefully mulling his daughter's future." No. It's the look of a man ignoring me. Someone hoping I'll vanish. Or at least "cease being so flippin' cheeky and squeaky" in his general direction.

I, Veronica Ripperton, am, in fact, a full fourteen years and two months old, for crying out loud. Not "squeaky" at all. More "husky" and "womanly." What does he know anyway? He can't even pick his nose privately.

So here are me and Dad, hovering around each other, in a deadlock. This must be how UN negotiators feel just before bombs begin getting lobbed. Eventually, the great fun -- stopping ogre speaks:

"Look, Ronnie. There is no way whatsoever you and your little posse of clowns..." (bit harsh, I thought) ... "Are getting tickets for Astlebury Music Festival. It's far too dangerous, what with all those hairy lads sniffing about. And different trains you'd need to catch...and drug dealers injecting you with acid or pinching your tent...and, well, trouble like that. You're just not going. No way! Nicky nacky nada way."

Dad's sandy sideburns virtually bristle at the thought of his offspring having such pure, unadulterated fun. Pah. If Dad thinks dressing up the word "no" by saying it amusingly will earn him forgiveness for being "the man who killed summer," he's soooo wrong.

"And while we're at it, Ronnie. Go and put a bigger T-shirt on! I can almost see your boobs." (Heavens forbid! I must be the only girl in England with a pair. Call the nipple police.)

"And I can see your belly button too! And your knickers! No wonder my profits on bar meals are down. All that flesh. It's just not right...." Dad gazes at the fifteen-centimeter gap between my T-shirt and jeans with utter disdain, then slumps his shoulders woefully, as if the weight of the Western World rests upon them.

Fine, so Dad isn't loving the crop-top, low-slung hipsters look, I can live with that, but by this stage, I'm so seething about the whole Astlebury thing that I'm fantasizing about strangling the furry-faced loser with a beer towel.

Dad's not a happy man either; as I begin to huff and puff around the bar, slamming chairs around rather insolently, his eyes are bulging with rage...something is going to blow.

"It's a thong, actually. Not knickers," I announce, yanking the offending lacy garment up even farther, out of the back of my trousers, proving my point nicely. Very bad idea. "It's a WHAT??!" shrieks Dad, his lips thinning into two pale lavender strips.

Ooops, time for a sharp exit, I think, hotfooting toward the pub's back doors. (Okay, hotfooting as quickly as a girl can with a knickers-up-bum-crack situation going on.) But before I can hobble out the door, making a rather undignified exit, suddenly Dad is in front of me. He places a big hand upon my shoulder, his face quite calm again.

"No. Stop, Ronnie...wait a minute...," he says, obviously wanting to make things up.

Lawrence "Loz" Ripperton (aka "Dad" or "Keeper of the Wallet") doesn't like arguing. He's all about peace and love, is my old man. It's a good job really, as in our household: 1) I quite enjoy a good row and 2) Mum positively relishes a proper bust-up. While Dad is a bit of a mellow soul, my mother, Magda Ripperton, the female face of the Fantastic Voyage, is like a Tasmanian devil with lipstick. As the Fantastic Voyage's chef, Magda's at her happiest churning out dinner for two hundred, with a flaming griddle pan in one hand, a pan of boiling salted water in the other, holding a blazing row with the sous-chef at the same time. No wonder I go to Dad with all of my far-fetched requests, such as today's "being let loose at a music festival with my best mates for the weekend." Dad is far more likely to simply mishear me, get a bit mixed up and think I'm asking to go and see a band at the local town hall. Magda, on the other hand (or "that bloody woman" as she's known to the postman, the gasman, the meat suppliers, her accountant and various family members), would have sussed my game right away. She'd have hidden my shoes and put me on round-the-clock watch for even thinking about Astlebury.

Thank God my dad is a pushover.

"I'm sorry, love, if I'm spoiling your fun," he mutters with a reproachful half smile. "I'll make it up to you, eh, chooch?" He runs a hand over my hair, which makes me feel about five again. "Why don't you ask Mum about the festival? If she says yes, I'll have another think...." Dad has obviously banged his head on a beam and forgotten ever meeting his wife, Magda; I'd have more chance asking if I could fritter the petty cash float on sparkly lip gloss and Belgian truffles.

This for Ronnie Ripperton is a D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R. In fact, it's a big, fat, flatulent sack of poo-flavored mess.

Game over.

My cunning-as-a-fox plan -- get the green light for Astlebury from Dad, then get straight onto that premium-rate ticket hotline before word on the street reaches the basement kitchen -- is scuppered. By the time Empress Venger was supposed to find out about Astlebury, me, Claudette and Fleur (aka Les Bambinos Dangereuses or the LBD, as we're known universally) would be well on our way to forty-eight hours of watching all our favorite bands play live, camping out under the stars...oh, and, like, meeting up with just about a million totally lush festival-going boys. The LBD have seen and noted the sort of lads that goes to music festivals on MTV. Meow! It's like Snogfest Central, with a lot of loud music, dancing, crowd-surfing, staying up all night and eating veggie burgers chucked in. We want to go so so much, we talked about it for the whole week after seeing the ads on MTV. Astlebury Festival sounds like the natural habitation for an LBD member.

"Hang on! I've got an idea!" chirps Dad. "Why don't I take you girls to Walrus World in Penge instead!?" he says.

My heart sinks. I'd rather jam my head in the tumble dryer, then switch it on.

"You used to love those walruses, Ronnie.... Remember the one that juggles the balls!?..." Dad's voice fades to a well-meaning whisper as I trudge into the early-evening air.

In a previous life, I was obviously Vlad the Impaler.

I'm paying big time for something.

Meet the Author

Grace Dent is a regular contributor to British teen magazines such as CosmoGIRL! and Mirror, as well as a columnist for the Guardian and More! magazine.

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