School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 6-9-The third book in Cathy Hopkins' Mates, Dates series is loads of fun. Published in the U.S. as Mates, Dates and Designer Divas (Simon Pulse, 2003), the Portobello in the title refers to Portobello Road, a tony section of London. The story is conveyed in short, pithy chapters interspersed with diary entries, text, and Instant Messages. Taking the point of view of Nesta, a lovely half Jamaican, half Italian girl who meets the rich boy of her dreams, Simon, on the train, the plot flutters along light and easy. She and her two best friends, Lucy and Izzie, are determined to make the best of themselves, yet Nesta feels she has to try and keep up with Simon's sister and her snobby friend, Cressida (the Portobello Princess) in order to win Simon's heart. Sharp and funny, and touching lightly on some serious issues-racial prejudice, class differences, teen drinking-Nesta expresses all the self-centered teenage angst necessary for a quite predictable, yet unexpectedly poignant turn of events. Melissa Eccleston narrates with great style and verve, giving each character his or her own distinctive voice. It's not necessary to have read any of the other books in the series to follow this one, but after listeningto this title, students will want to read and/or listen to the others.-Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, Oxford, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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