Withering Tights by Louise Rennison (July 2010, HarperCollins Children's Books, ISBN: 9780007156832)
Wow. This is it. This is me growing up.
Review: Being a recent convert to the YA genre I've missed out on Louise Rennison's Georgia Nicolson series so I thought I'd jump in at the beginning of her new series featuring Tallulah Casey. (Tallulah is apparently a cousin of Georgia.)
Tallulah is fourteen and a half and has super-long legs (with knobbly knees) and no chest to speak of yet. These things depress her. She has decided she wants to be a performance artist and gets permission from her absentee parents to spend the six weeks' holiday at Dother Hall, a performing arts college on the Yorkshire Moors. Because she is late applying she is not boarding at the school but staying with a local family, the Dobbins - mum, dad and two starey-eyed twin boys.
Tallulah soon makes friends - Vaisey who is staying at the local pub, Ruby a precocious ten year old who lives at the pub, plus a group of girls at the school. The story covers some of the classes at the school and the girls meets with some of the residents from a neighbouring boys only school, Woolfe Academy. Tallulah also has a hate-hate relationship with local ruffian, Cain Hinchcliff and a crush on Ruby's older brother Alex.
There's plenty keeping Tallulah busy but she may not be cut-out for the stage. Can she convince the headmistress to let her come back for the next school year?
Withering Tights is extremely funny. It had me laughing aloud a lot, not something books usually make me do! Tallulah is someone you're rooting for and you want her to reveal a hidden talent - other than being very tall. The main characters are all very likeable and young Ruby is priceless. It's a sweet read, with no spiteful characters and the Dobbins family take Tallulah to their bosom and give her a taste of conventional family-life, very unlike her own. I flew through this book and can't wait to see what the next instalment will bring. (According to Louise Rennison's website there are to be two more books about Tallulah.)