Pretty in pink

21st May 2004 at 01:00
ISLA AND LUKE: MAKE OR BREAK? By Rhian Tracey. Bloomsbury Children's Books pound;5.99

DRAMA QUEEN. By Chlo Rayban. Bloomsbury Children's Books pound;5.99

DIZZY. By Cathy Cassidy. Puffin pound;4.99

SO SUPER STARRY. By Rose Wilkins. Macmillan pound;9.99

'... AND THAT'S WHEN IT FELL OFF IN MY HAND.

By Louise Rennison. HarperCollins pound;10.99

GIRL, 15, CHARMING BUT INSANE. By Sue Limb. Bloomsbury pound;5.99

Every book in the pile in front of me is in some significant way pink. Sue Limb's novel is mainly silver with a pink T-shirt on the front and the text below the title is worth reading. Macmillan are charging an extra pound;3 for the iridescent pink of the Rose Wilkins book. All six books are unashamedly girly, but their fluffiness quotient varies.

At the more serious end of the spectrum, Rhian Tracey's novel is a sequel to When Isla Meets Luke Meets Isla. The two teenagers, now at sixth-form college, spend part of the summer holidays together; both they and their parents have problems to solve in the present and ghosts to lay to rest.

This is a very engagingly written and honest book.

Jessica is the eponymous heroine of Chlo Rayban's latest novel. As in her other work, the young narrator's first-person account is very well-judged with extremely funny moments. Jessica's attempt to get her parents back together and to fix up the romantic life of her friend Clare will be a huge success with Rayban's many fans.

Cathy Cassidy's jacket says: "If you like Jacqueline Wilson, you'll love Cathy Cassidy", and this first-time author's novel does have things in common with some of Wilson's work. There's a hippyish and irresponsible mum; a dad doing his best; caught between is Dizzy, who misses the woman who walked out on her years before. What happens when Dizzy's mother, now called Storm, whisks her daughter away on the festival circuit makes for an exciting read for Year 7 girls, while this adult reader felt fury and irritation at Storm's behaviour. The narrator is not as perky or humorous as a Jacqueline Wilson heroine, but she's a sympathetic character.

Rose Wilkins' story about the children of celebs is glitzy, sophisticated and full of delicious details of dress and lifestyle, like a sort of junior version of Sex and the City. It's sharply written and will be swapped and pored over by both the streetwise and the wannabees.

Fans of Louise Rennison will know what to expect from the hilariously-named fifth volume of Georgia Nicolson's confessions. Rennison has created a language for her heroine which newcomers might find silly at first, but they will soon fall in with aficionados and join in the helpless giggling.

Fabbity-fab just about sums it up.

Sue Limb's book is the least pink of all, the only one written in the third person, by a novelist who knows her stuff. She's very good at observing people and the granny who comes to live with Jessica and her mother is a particular delight, with her penchant for zombie movies. The joke horoscope chapter headings are a hoot and the relationship between Jessica and Fred is funny and touching. If your students can only squeeze one of these books this half term, make it this one.

Adele Geras's latest book for teenagers is Other Echoes, David Fickling Books, pound;9.99

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