15 November 2011
REVIEW: NOBODY'S GIRL
Author: Sarra Manning
Series: No, standalone
UK Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
UK Release date: February 2010
Genre: Contemporary YA
Bea has spent her life studying, babysitting, being a pushover and generally winning awards for the best daughter ever. When the cool girls accept her into their group and invite her on holiday to Malaga, Bea snatches up the opportunity to escape the clutches of her overprotective mother for some girly fun. But when they push her too far, Bea ends up travelling through Europe on a quest to meet her father and going on a journey of self-discovery.
Review: First off, I loved Bea. Not because she had amazing gifts, or because she kicked arse. But because she was like me when I was her age. Bea was kind, nice, and too shy to stand up for herself. She had a completely overprotective mother, like mine, who wouldn’t let her out of the house without some sort of emotional chastity belt on. I could completely relate to Bea, and what it felt like to be in her shoes, so when I was reading about how she stood up to the mean girls in Malaga, I practically ‘yippeed’ for her! Bea's narrative voice was also very real and genuine, perfectly portraying teenage anxieties, dreams and the occasional drunken nights.
Her relationship with her mother was fraught with tension, usually around Bea's relationship (no matter how imaginary) with boys and her mother's constant worry that Bea might lose her virginity and get pregnant as a teenager like she did. The parental chains felt so real, and I was glad that the mother's push about abstinence was tempered by Bea's physical feelings for Toph.
Bea's love interest, Toph, really won me over too. I'm getting really bored of gorgeous, sexy guys that have no substance or character to them; but Toph was different. Manning squeezed in so much about his personality, little details about the curve of his eyelashes and his quirky habits such as wearing 'I LOVE...' hats that I actually felt like I knew him as a person without thinking how hot he was.
As part of her mistaken, forbidden travels Bea ends up in Paris. References to Amelie, Audrey Hepburn and French music showed how well Bea (and Sarra Manning) had obsessed over and learnt about all things French, and even though I didn't get all the references I still loved the idea that Bea decorated her room to look like Amelie's and wanted her first kiss on the Pont Neuf! Reading about Toph and Bea's days spent wandering the streets of Paris and visiting cafes and restaurants made me want to jet off to Europe, sip coffee with a pain au chocolat and travel around with my own set of amazing but absurd rules.
Despite being a 'girl meets guy' type scenario, the plot still managed to surprise, intrigue and interest me. When Bea was confronted by the mean girls' final act of abuse, I was literally hooked to the pages and spent several nights going to bed late because I couldn't put the book down.
Genuine and true to life, Nobody's Girl had me hooked from the start and took me right back to my teenage years. My love affair for Sara Manning has now officially started.