Author: Sue Limb
Release date: 7th June 2010
Genre: Contemporary Teen Life / YA / Realism / Humour
Target audience: 11+
Summary from Amazon:
The teenage world of Jess Jordon is looking characteristically chaotic: Mum has joined an online dating programme and has recruited Jess as advisor, while Jess' best friend Flora has a rich new boyfriend who Jess can't possibly keep up with. Then Jess' own boyfriend, Fred, does something unbelievably treacherous and spineless. Jess is becoming completely fed up with the male sex, and is beginning to think that the only reliable form of male is e-mail ...Never mind, there's Valentine's Day to look forward to. Fred is sure to make amends then. Isn't he? Full of Sue Limb's very funny take on teenage life and problems, fans of "Girl, 15" will be thrilled to have available a new Fred and Jess story. It's only when you've stopped laughing that you realise that, in addition to writing with wit and warmth, Sue Limb has also dealt effortlessly with bigger and important themes of friendship and loyalty.
Girl, 16 Five Star Fiasco is the first book that I have read by Sue Limb. This is certainly not the sort of novel that I would usually read but I was in the mood for something really light-hearted and full of humour and this is exactly what I got. Girl, 16 Five Star Fiasco is the story of Jess and her plan to put on a dinner / dance charity event for Oxfam. It read like an honest episode of a teenager's life with all the dramas that feel catastrophic but are actually not as fatal as they appear to be.
Jess and Fred are the "laugh-a-minute" couple. I got the feeling from this book that it took them a while to get together (in the earlier books in the series) but now they are and Jess loves Fred's naturally comical nature. Except that there is always a fine line about when it is appropriate to be funny and when it is necessary to be serious. Jess increasingly feels like Fred doesn't get this. They are planning a special charity event but all they've managed to do is set a date, time, book a venue and design the tickets. Time is ticking by and they have sold lots of tickets but they haven't secured caterers or a band. The stress of possible failure weighs heavily on Jess's mind and she begins to snap at Fred for his organisational shortcomings. I felt really sorry for Fred because Jess kept wanting him to take some repsonsibility and yet she wasn't managing to do that herself. She kept popping around her friend's house and then agrees to go away for the weekend prior to the big event.
Fred is reluctant to go on the seaside trip but Jess insists. Unfortunately the weekend doesn't become the relaxing break from her troubles that she planned. Fred isn't so comfortable around strangers and Jess expects too much off him. Both their characters are humourously crafted by Limb. You kind of love both of them but wish one of them would step up and take charge. Jess also has a very modern home life. Her mum experimenting with internet dating and this creates some laugh out loud moments and was definitely my favourite aspect of the story.
Overall, this light-hearted tale of teenage drama and family life was a very funny and enjoyable read. I want to buy the whole series for the school library because I think the girls will love it. For me, it authentically captured the teenage voice and viewpoint. Just a great fun and easy book to read!
Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me the book to review.