The question is: who will Bea decide to become this summer - Toph's girl, the goody-two-shoes girl her mum expects or her own girl?
Nobody's Girl has just been short-listed for The Booktrust Teenage Prize 2010 which is a prestigious UK based award
This was my first Sarra Manning novel and being the contemp girl that I am, I loved the sound of the premise. Europe, romance, coming of age, etc, etc.
The book definitely had that Sarah Dessen vibe going down, but it's UK, so it has a UK feel about it that resonates with me after reading so much US based YA. (Not that I'm British, but I get the vibe).
It's complex being a teenager when the line between self-identity and peer acceptance and convictions blur. Sarra Manning nails that feeling in Bea who starts out as a bit of a doormat, craving acceptance from Queen Bitch Ruby who is suddenly suspiciously friendly. What ends up going down between Bea and Ruby and her posse is girl warfare at it's best: startling and vicious and reminds me why teen boys have it better with just getting to the point, smashing each other faces in and moving along.
When Bea turned fiesty, I was in awe or her and her talent for revenge. Yeah, Bea! After that, Toph arrives on the scene and I couldn't put it down. Because, I mean, swoon. Toph's laid back and sweet, but speaks his mind and adds some 20 year old perspective that reminds you that although the intense struggles you have at 17 can be world-shattering, that they too will pass.
It's such a daydreamy book, to be in Paris at seventeen and meet older, cooler backpackers who accept you for who you are. While I was a sucker for the love story and the adventure of Paris, this book is so much more than that. It's about friendship, facing secrets of the past, forgiving your mum, standing up for yourself, and realising that being you is enough. Also, watch out for some sweet and steamy moments :)
Recommended: About first kisses and love and friendship, this is a book for any girl who has daydreamed about finding adventure, a knight in shining armour and discovering a world bigger than the worries of high school.
- The annoying thing about this book was the back blurb. I felt impatient with the pacing as I kept waiting for Europe, France and Toph to turn up... it took a good one hundred pages to get there. I think I would have settled more into it if it wasn't for me hanging out for that.
- Toph is short for Christopher. But, really? Toph? It didn't particularly grow on me...
- I definitely think this book would have resonated with me more reading it as a teen than reading it as an adult. The teen voice is authentic, so Bea's struggles felt real and reminded me of what it was like to be back there, but as an adult, I had too much hindsight that sometimes left me feeling frustrated with Bea's struggles.
My rating: On goodreads I gave it three stars b/c I liked it. But it has some really high ratings with many people listing it as one of their favourite YA books. I probably would have loved it harder if i had read it as a teen. If you get what I mean :) I'm keen to read more of Sarra Manning as she did impress me with this book.