Girl, 15, Charming But Insane

by Sue Limb

Delacorte Press, August, 2004.
Hardcover, 214 pages.
ISBN: 0385732147
Ages Young Adult

Girl, 15, Charming But Insane by Sue Limb Jess is a fifteen year-old English schoolgirl who lives with her mother. She misses the support of her father, who is separated from her mother, and lives far away in Cornwall. Jess's best friend is as perfect as a Boticelli painting of Venus and is from a very high-achieving family. A droll sense of humor is her defense against the bewildering world of adolescence.

Sue Limb leads the reader on a hilarious romp through the vicissitudes of teenage life. Jess tries unsuccessfully to add to her physical appearance by inventing inexpensive breast implants made of canned soup inside plastic baggies. She is going to a party and wants to look good for Ben Jones, her current romantic interest. Everything seems to be working until an older student on the football team gets amorous intentions, and Jess has to flee to the bathroom to clean up an exploding mess of soup. The outrageously funny comments of the hapless heroine help her deal with her mounting problems as she finds that the older brother of the girl who gave the party installed a secret camera in the girls' bathroom. As Jess confronts her problems with her waggish outlook on life, she finally finds a solution to her problems from an unexpected source.

Girl, 15, Charming but Insane is welcome a relief from the usual coming of age novel, filled with angst. Instead, writer Sue Limb provides us with a droll insight in almost every paragraph and lightens the burden of growing up with humor based on wisdom and an understanding of the temporary existence of most problems.

--Sarah Reaves White

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This review was published in the November-December, 2004 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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