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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,


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.

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+)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Girl, 15 Series
Product dimensions:
5.75(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.77(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Girl, 15, Charming but Insane

By Sue Limb

Random House

Copyright (C) 2004 by Sue Limb
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0385902441

Chapter One


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.

Excerpted from Girl, 15, Charming but Insane by Sue Limb Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Sue Limb’s writing career started in London around 1980, with various assignments for magazines and newspapers, and her first radio work, Big and Little, which won a Sony Award for Best Children’s Programme.

Her children’s books include Big and Little, China Lee, Me Jane, Big Trouble, and Mr Loopy and Mrs Snoopy. Come Back, Grandma is published by Random House UK and was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize. The author lives in England.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Girl, 15, Charming but Insane 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
lovetoread123417 More than 1 year ago
Girl, 15, Charming but Insane is one of my favorites. I became so engrossed in it when I was reading, that I didn't eat or drink. Only a few books have ever done that to me. I couldn't put it down for four hours, of course i had to wait until after school to read it (annoying teachers and distractions). I laughed out loud at least every other sentence, my mother asked me, "What is wrong with you?" Kudos to you, Sue Limb, for creating a book with the most witty characters and one of the best stories I have read this year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am slightly in love with this book. Everytime i read i fall a little more in love with it, and i hate Flora a little more. Everyone should read it at least once in their lives
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very unique an funny book. Great shining characters. Hate flora... and nannoyed 2nd book isnt on nook store.
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Ramya Pinninti More than 1 year ago
hahaha this book reminds me so much of angus, thongs, and perfect snogging. it was a lively read:)
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book was great. I mean some parts were just so outrageously embarassing. And it was really funny. But the ending was bad, I mean it should have been written a bit better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was such a great book! i made all my friends read it and they loved it! i love her character!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very exciting, Jess 'the main character' did many things I haven't even thought of. I do wish the author would write a sequal, because i feel like there is still some questions left unanswered.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was a good book but it was a little too wacky and a little insane, and a very weird ending that you have to read a few times to understand. Over all tha book was good anyone who reads it will understand that. It's a book that will make you want to read the second one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a teenager can be hard sometimes! dealing with crushes, friends, and family is not always a piece of cake! Girl, 15, Charming, but Insane tells the story about how a teenage girl named, Jess, deals with it all! With problems flying at her from every direction, some of the solutions Jess comes up with will have you laughing on the floor! From stuffing her bra with bags of soup, to stealing a video tape, you will never know what Jess will think of next!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I read it on my way to Stowe, VT for a ski trip and usually I'm distracted from reading on a bus with my friends but this book I totally got into. Great story and a bit unexpected. I really have to but the next two books in the series. Definitely like a 10 out of 10!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Books with ammusing titles always catch my eye, and this one proved to be great. It was so hilarious and was one of those books that actually had a good ending. I loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got this book the other day and after I started the first chapter I just couldn't put it down! The story just kept getting better and better! And it was sooo hilarious!! It was so great I finished the whole book in one night!! I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Don't let the cover deceive you. It's a great book!!! ^^ Although the cover could use some redoing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great! I definitely would refer it to others because it relates to teens and pre-teens alike. I can't wait to read the sequel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
man oh man what a hilarous book! jess is such a lovable character who will make you either A. laugh at her naieve stupidity or B. root her to victory. Both A and B were my reactions. I love this book. it's totally outta the ordinary and really unique. i recommend this to any girl who has a good sense of humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did not expect this book to be as great as it was. Girl, 15, Charming but Insane, was interesting, amusing, and very well-written. I recommend it to everyone who's looking for a good, quick read.