Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging

22 Sep

“I wish I’d never started this snogging business. I feel like I’ve been attacked by whelks.”

Enter Georgia Nicolson, a fourteen year-old in Brighton, England. Also, enter her mental cat, lots of exceedingly confusing boys, and a school year full of mishaps and laughs. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging was written by Louise Rennison, who – if I hadn’t looked on the back flap – I would have thought was also a teenage girl. Not that the writing is bad, in fact it’s quite the opposite (it won the Printz Award). Rennison perfectly portrays the ins and outs of teenage drama with wit and plenty of humor!

Georgia has loads of problems facing her – a school uniform that includes abominable berets (which no one looks good in, not even the French), Robbie the Sex God is ignoring her and dating the loathsome Lindsay, and she’s just shaved off both her eyebrows. Through stuffed olive costumes, school pranks, her sister’s used nappies, and getting snogging lessons (like actual lessons), Georgia navigates the murky waters of adolescence, puberty, and the actual definition of “see you later,” with humor that will have you laughing out loud.

Writing a book about boy trouble is tough to do without slipping into the chick lit trap. But in Georgia, we find a narrator who daydreams about boys but still manages to keep her integrity. She is fearless, and though her first two boyfriends turn out to be duds, she doesn’t ever doubt herself. Mistakes are made aplenty, but this is more Bridget Jones than Bella Swan. She’s never deliberately malicious, and she’s never afraid to stand up for herself.

Georgia doesn’t have an epic destiny to fulfill, but instead she wonders about normal problems that come up when you’re that age: zits, school bullies, her mother, PE teachers. I think this is an important point because that’s honestly all I worried about as a teenager, and Georgia’s ruminations are both surprisingly mature and equally hysterical – I was literally laughing out loud reading on the bus. Even the most horrific embarrassments lack a sting, and boy problems carry as much weight as her own self-image and relationships with her friends.

Rennison has expanded Georgia’s story into a further nine books, which though I won’t list them all here, I’ll give you a teaser of the best titles: On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God; Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas; Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers. It was also made into a film in the UK which received largely positive reviews though I have yet to see it myself.

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