Monday, 6 September 2010

Review: Ugly Shy Girl - Laura Dockrill

Ugly Shy GirlYou might have known somebody like Ugly Shy Girl once! You might have seen her bumping into lamp-posts and tripping over her school bag. She wears a denim skirt down to her ankles and a second-hand Naf Naf jacket. Her hair hangs down in front of her face and her nails are bitten and sore. She is always doing or saying completely the wrong thing. This is a twisted tale is about the struggle of growing up in a place where you don't belong, surrounded by people you hate! and how delicious getting your own back can be.
"The characters are funny, endearing and completely original. Laura has a wonderfully wild and exciting imagination! She defies boundaries." ~ Kate Nash

Ugly Shy Girl is such a cute book. It's imaginative and, despite being about a teenage girl being bullied, it's funny as well. The main part of the story is told by a narrator and it's less structured than most books so it seems very much like a teen writing it for say an English class or something - which really works for this story. The book follows seventeen-year-old Abigail Rodgers - aka Ugly Shy Girl - through a week at college (the story is set in the UK so 'college' is equivalent as the last two years in high school in the US). At first it's a normal week for Abigail, being made fun of and having to endure her 'buddy' Matt, an adult assigned to her supposedly to prevent the bullying but his presence is just another thing for the other kids to tease her about. Part way through the week though, Abigail actually makes a friend in Jade, a goth girl, and things start to change.

The narrated sections are separated by Abigail's diary entries which retell the events from her point of view as well as including other random thoughts, so we really gets to know her character despite the book being really short.Parts of the book are sad but generally it really is funny. This is not done in a bad way in which you're laughing at Abigail along with the bullies. Instead it's the just the tone of the narrator and Abigail's own thoughts that provide the humour.

Despite the shortness of the book, the style and the fact it's illustrated, this book is most definitely aimed at older teens. It's a fun quick read but has a serious underlying message as well. It's quirky and a little bit 'out there' though so it may not be every one's thing.

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