I have overcome a silly whim to try writing this entire review as a diary. Writing it from two points of view was a no-no from the start because, hey, there's only me round here. I toyed with the idea of doing the whole thing as a letter to the editor but decided, finally, simply to tell you about the books.
This batch of paperbacks can be safely recommended as beach reads for young teenage girls. I doubt whether boys will pick up any of them, although perhaps a couple of sexy words on the front of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (Piccadilly pound;5.99) will attract a few, who will be sorely disappointed at the low smut content.
Angus, Thongs etc comes garlanded with hype. It's been sold to the United States for a six-figure sum, and the enthusiastic press release says something along the lines of "Move over, Adrian Mole!".
Georgia writes about all the usual things: friends, boyfriends, what to wear, and so on. Anyone who thinks Angus is a hunky Scot should be warned. He is a mad Scottish cat, and one of the most interesting characters.
My feeling was that Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones can sleep soundly in their beds, but that lovers of the diary format will welcome this addition to the club. It's amusing and fun, and will pass a pleasant hour with perhaps three out-and-out belly laughs along the way.
Chlo Rayban has had the good idea (rather like Carol Shields in Happenstance) of telling the same story from two points of view. Watching You, Watching Me (HarperCollins pound;3.99) is the second title in her new double-narrative series, Back2Backs. It concerns a girl with a wonderfully-depicted set of parents and a delightful sibling, and what happens to her when a rather fanciable young man begins to squat in the house opposite.
The book benefits from Rayban's witty style, and the fact that the background to the main story is more than a swift sketch. We can see a life behind both first-person narratives. I was mildly irritated that the models used on the cover didn't fit the descriptions of Matt and Natasha, but this is definitely one to pack.
Paula Danziger and Ann Martin have collaborated on an epistolary novel PS Longer Letter Later . . . (Hodder pound;3.99). The letters between two American girls are very entertaining, they sound genuine - that's to say, we can believe that the writers are actually the age that they are supposed to be - and a good and rather sad story unfolds through them.
For anyone who has met Paula Danziger or seen her on Live and Kicking, it's fun to think that this is how she was when she was 12. Epistolary novels are a treat for anyone who likes getting letters, and this one gains a great deal from being written by two such different authors. Nosey parkers will also enjoy the factual details supplied about Martin and Danziger and their real-life friendship.