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Girl, 15, Charming but Insane Hardcover – August 10, 2004

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
Book 2 of 4 in the Jess Jordan Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10–In this first book in a proposed trilogy, readers are introduced to Jess Jordan, her friend Flora, a few love interests, and Jess's mom, grandma, and absent father whose funny e-mailed horoscopes begin each chapter. The book has a fun cover and the plot is well paced, ending on a cliff-hanger leaving plenty of threads to be answered in the next book. These junior Bridget Joneses have plenty of charm: Will Jess pine for dreamy Brad or realize that her good friend Fred is the man for her? The way the author handles the situation and adds a few levels of conflict and a few possible love triangles will have readers ready for the second installment. This title will appeal to fans of Meg Cabot, Louise Rennison, and others who like heroines who have a little vinegar to go with their sugar.–Amy Patrick, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 7-9. Another in the recent British YA tradition of Louise Rennison's Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (2000), Limb's novel features Jess Jordan, big of bum and small of boob, who covets her best friend Flora's body, beauty, and popularity. Jess is enamored with the unattainable Ben Johnson, and she is friends with Fred, the class clown and nerd. After Flora confesses a crush on Fred, Jess suddenly realizes what everyone else has known for years: she and Fred are perfect together! Limb's characters are memorable. Jess is funny although occasionally over the top; her dad, whom we meet via his daily horoscopes, which delineate the chapters, is funny, too, but unreliable; and her peacenik librarian mother is a source of both embarrassment and security. Most endearing is Fred, whose wit, integrity, intelligence, and outward confidence earn him the love and respect of his peers and probably of readers, too. Full of bawdy humor, this is a charming, easy read that handles issues of body image, popularity, and adolescent insecurity with humor. Frances Bradburn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (August 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385732147
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385732147
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,456,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jessica Lux on August 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Sue Limb has spun a beautifully realistic story about the trials of being a teenaged girl. Jess, the narrator, is spunky, witty, and trying to find her place in the world. Her adventures and her take on life cracked me up and reminded me so much of my own experiences.

Jess has trials relating to boys and balancing her friendship with Flora with the fact that Flora always seems to one-up her in any situation. The fine line between loving your best friend and wanting to rip her head off because she is better at everything is portrayed beautifully. On the boys front, you know Jess is headed for disaster when, instead of purchasing a "gel bra," she makes her own at home with minestrone soup and some baggies. Drama ensues, but it isn't at all predictable and it turns out in an unexpected way.

This is a British book, so American readers will have to adjust a bit to the slang, which I found endearing. The characters in here aren't goody two-shoes, but they are basically good kids, and this book is appropriate for any younger reader.
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Format: Hardcover
Sue Limb does an excellent job on her first teen book, Girl, 15, Charming but Insane. It is an extremely addictive story that I whizzed through, wanting more, not realizing it was a whole 214 pages long! This teen book that I would recommend for teens is hilarious, frustrating, heart-warming and smile-acious, because even though the narrator tells it from a third-person viewpoint, one really can get to know Jess Jordan, the main character.

Jess is a 15-year old teen living in England with her radical feminist mother who is constantly passionately preaching against war or Jess's crushes. Jess's goofy dad is divorced from her mother and lives on the coast of a sea, a place of residence where Jess hopes to visit someday. The twosome's household gets crazier when `Granny' moves in, a sweet-as-a-muffin grandmother who, ironically, loves hearing about gruesome news events involving slain body parts. I think Jess's family was a great foundation for the book, because the members each have their own quirks yet they get along very well. Jess's best friend, Flora, is, well, perfect. Or so Jess thinks. Flora's family is very rich and live under `heavenly', lavish conditions. Jess and Flora's relationship greatly reflects many relationships of today's teens, because the feelings of jealously, resentment, and flusters of sheer anger come bluntly through Jess's thoughts. Jess also has a loyal friend named Fred, whom she has fun with jokingly speaking in old English. Fred is a sharp-witted young man that seems to have a birds-eye view of the way people act, and he would rather watch something very violent on TV than go to a clique-filled party. I believe that Jess and Fred have an awesome relationship in that they feel completely comfortable around each other just being friends.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is pure brilliance. I have never read a book funnier than this one. Of course, for Americans, you'll have to adjust to a few British English words here and there, but that's no problem. This book deals with semi-realistic issues in a very humorous manner. I'd definitely recommend it to teen girls, and heck, mothers might even enjoy reading it, too!

-Courtney
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Format: Hardcover
Jess doesn't quite think about things like your typical girl would. When presented with a flat chest (as many of us have been, especially early on, when it seems everyone else's has exploded into WonderBra status), she decides to make some "filler" ... out of minestrone soup. Now, some of us might have had the same thought...but with soup? Of course, things go a bit awry as a boy that Jess isn't even crushing on manages to squeeze her a bit too tight at a party and the soup quickly explodes into his face.

Jess thinks she's done for. How could anyone live down a soup bra? But then she finds out the rumor is she'd thrown up on the boy. Ah, sweet relief. (?) But then, the really bad news comes out. A boy at the party had put a camera in the girl's loo and they're going to have a showing! Everyone is coming!

Yes. The same loo in which Jess had run after her embarrassing soup explosion and not only taken off her shirt (!), but had also talked to her breasts. Not that she'll ever talk to them again, not after this.

That's the way things go in Jess' life. Things are further complicated by her beautiful but mostly humble friend Flora, her crush - the scrumptious Ben (who seems pretty oblivious) and her best guy friend, Fred (of the terrible hair). Will Jess find true love and manage to stay out of trouble? Will her feminist mother even allow her to utter the "boyfriend" word?

Jess is a truly delightful and quirky character with a great sense of humor and perfect comic timing...if only anyone would appreciate it. I highly recommend this one for readers aged 12 and up and anyone that likes Brit fiction with a cutting comic edge. I just hope there's a sequel coming.

--[...]
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Format: Library Binding
This was one of the funniest books I've ever read. I laughed out loud many times. Perhaps someone forgot to tell the author how hard it is to write comedy. I actually listened to the audio version which is even better because the reader did a great job. I want to find out more about this author but I think it is a great book for a savvy young adult.
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