Tag: ya books

My ode to Georgia Nicolson


Every time I do a school visit, or go to a festival, I’m consistently asked the same question.

“What’s your favourite book?”

Without hesitation, my answer is the same.

“Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging.”

So, I was completely devastated to hear the news that Louise Rennison, author of the Georgia Nicolson books, has died. She is my biggest influence as a writer and her books are so intrinsically linked to my own teenagehood. I’m so, so sad that she’s gone.

But her books remain. And what WHAT books they are. So, to help alleviate my grief, I’ve written a celebration of why the Georgia Nicolson books are so great.

They are beyond funny

Not just funny-for-a-girl funny. Not the-occasional-discrete-tittle-on-the-train funny. No. These books make you laugh until you snort. Actual snot has flown out of my nose and landed some way across my face whilst reading them. There are so, SO, many funny moments in these books, but off the top of my head, some of the best bits are:

  • Georgia dying a blonde streak in her hair with bleach and it snapping off in the Sex God’s hand
  • Getting one of his buttons shoved up her nose when he lays her head on his lap
  • Throwing her tennis racquet into the air after winning a match and knocking the umpire off their high chair
  • “Hi Dig” (you have to be a big fan to understand that one)

Georgia isn’t pretty

And not just in that oh-I-think-I’m-really-ugly-but-everyone-fancies-me-anyway way. Rennison is careful in making sure the reader knows Georgia isn’t a supermodel – from her big nose, to her lurking-lurker outbreaks. But – shock horror – boys still like her! Even though her friend Jas famously says “boys don’t like girls for funniness’, Jas is routinely proved wrong. Boys fall for Georgia precisely because she’s funny, random, loud and brash. She wins them over with hilarity and wit, not by batting her boy entrancers. It gave teenage me, fellow possessor of a larger nose, such hope. And, also, some pretty great relationship advice – boys won’t be put off you for being funny, in fact, they really quite like it.

Teen relationships don’t always last forever

The first few books are preoccupied with Georgia trying to ensnare Robbie the Sex God. But, once she gets him, they don’t wander off into the sunset together. They have fights, they break up for reasonable reasons, like him moving away. Georgia has other relationships with other people. No-one in these books marries their first ever partner. Not that there’s anything wrong with marrying your first ever partner, but, for most teens, love comes and goes. And these books were the first romances I read that recognised that.

Female friendships are everything

The Ace Gang were #SquadGoals before Taylor Swift had even hit puberty. Georgia and her friends were everything my friends and I wanted to be. Everything we were. We did mad things, we made each other laugh til we cried, we sometimes hated each other and fell out over silly stuff. From fish parties, to the snogging scale – the Ace Gang were dedicated to being there for each other and making each other laugh. I honestly don’t think the Spinster Club would exist if I hadn’t read these books. They taught me to prize my female friendships above everything else.

The ensemble cast

Like Friends, a lot of the best comedy came from the bit-part characters. Elvis the grumpy caretaker who posed in the nuddypants. Sven, the cossack-dancing, nordic madman who only seemed to know the word ‘jah’. Nauseating Pamela Green a.k.a the best comedic name of all time. The bullying Bummer Twins. Whelk Boy and his snogging lessons. Mark and his big gob and wandering hands. Wet Lindsay and her thong. Every single teacher at her school…

The lingo

I think you know you’ve made it as an author if readers adopt actual words you’ve made up. Think about words like ‘muggle’ for example. And this was true of Rennison’s books too. Since reading them, it’s never cold but nippy noodles. I never fancy someone, I’ve got the cosmic horn for them. My boobs are nunga nungas. Italy is Pizza-a-go-go land. My entire lexicon (I only learnt that word last year!) has expanded to fit the world she created.

Dave The Laugh

Essentially the best book boyfriend the world has ever known. I will never stop trying to find him in my own real life. Any boy who puts a ‘For Sale’ banner across the roof of his school is a keeper.

I am so sad today. But just writing this has cheered me up so much. And that’s what’s so amazing about authors – they never really leave us. They leave their books behind, their characters behind, their nip-nip eruptions behind. I will always feel so grateful that these books came into my life and they will never leave me. So, thank you Louise Rennison. I hope you are laughing like a loon on loon tablets away on a fast camel.

Exclusive How Hard Can Love Be? proofs are IN


Hang on a second….


Look, just LOOK at what arrived today!! 

It’s only one of the special limited-edition proofs of HOW HARD CAN LOVE BE? with its exclusive anti-Valentine’s Day DOUBLE FRONT COVER?! 

These should be tumbling their way out of the Usborne office into the hands of lucky bloggers and reviewers and competition winners soon! Keep an eye out on my Twitter if you want to get your hands on one. But, if you can’t get one, FRET NOT. Because these proofs won’t have AMBER’S ARTWORK inside, starting each chapter. The finished copies will. I’ve had a sneaky peek at the artwork and it is STONKINGLY beautiful. Plus, the first print-run is going to have exclusive content too. So there is SO MUCH to look forward to which is why I am so CAPS-LOCK this morning. 

Here’s a peek at the inside cover of the DOUBLE FRONT COVER…

The ridiculousness of period shame

My favourite scene in Am I Normal Yet? is when the girls have a Spinster Club meeting about the ridiculousness of period shame, blue blood in adverts, and paying tax on tampons. So I was very excited when I came across these two videos. A Taylor Swift spoof, and emmablackery rollerskating in blood-splattered cream trousers? I LOVE THE INTERNET!

Holly x

YA Blogger series with Jess Hearts Books

Today, we hear from the FAB Jess of Jess Hearts Books fame on ‘normal’, feminism and cheesy snacks:

What is ‘normal’?

I used to think that being ‘normal’ meant having it together, being like everybody else. But everybody has their own struggles that you don’t get to see behind the scenes and so now I think that ‘normal’ means being completely messed up but being brave enough to carry on anyway.

What message did you take away from Am I Normal Yet?

For me it drove home just how tough being a teenage girl is in a society that sends you mixed messages and impossible standards to live up to. It’s a treacherous road to navigate. I’m so happy that there is a book out there that points this out and stands up for girls providing them with feminist main characters that I hope inspire them to speak out against these messages that society sends them.

What does feminism mean to you?

Feminism to me means absolute equality between the sexes. It means busting harmful gender stereotypes that hurt both men and women. It means a movement that benefits everyone.

What other YA novels about mental health would you recommend?

Another incredible YA book I read this year about mental health was All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. If you’re interested in reading another informative YA book about OCD in particular I’d recommend Amy and Matthew by Cammie McGovern.

And finally, what’s your go-to cheesy snack?

Wotsits. It really doesn’t get any better than Wotsits.

Thanks so much Jess for taking part in the #100DaysofNormal YA Blogger series. Read Jess’s review of Am I Normal Yet? over on her blog, Jess Hearts Books, as well as lots of other brilliant reviews and features! Enjoy!