Sunday 26 December 2010

Review: Nobody's Girl - Sarra Manning

17 year old Bea is obsessed with France. Who wouldn't be, when they had a Parisian father they'd never met? Especially when life back home with an over-protective mother and rather boring friends is so, well, dull. At least it is until Ruby takes an interest in her. Falling under the spell of her school's most glamorous girl, Bea finds herself agreeing to go on holiday to Spain with Ruby and her mates. Except when she gets there, she's suddenly kicked out of the in crowd. What's a girl to do? Crawl home to her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother? Or head off to Paris to search for her long lost dad?

Of course, she chooses Paris, and meets a new group of friends, some American backpackers - rather nicer this time, especially the gorgeous Toph. Ignoring her mother's demands for her to return home, Bea finds solace in her new companions and falls completely in love with the city - and possibly with a certain boy as well. Are they meant for each other? Or is Bea destined to be Nobody's Girl forever?

Sarra Manning is one of my favourite YA authors and delivers another funny, romantic and fast-paced read here with lots of great characters. I thought Bea's family - especially the grandmothers - were particularly strong and liked the way the two groups Bea travelled with were fleshed out as well; it was interesting to see the way Bea’s impressions of some of her companions changed throughout the book.

The romance develops nicely and I also thought it was interesting that Toph was such a nice guy generally - compared to some previous Manning leading men he's an absolute angel. Bea, as I've come to confidently expect from Sarra, is a fantastic narrator who really comes of age during the course of the book.

A final thing - Manning's descriptions of Paris are particularly strong - so much so that I've caught myself considering leaping on a plane at least two or three times since finishing the book!

High recommendation, particularly to fans of Sarah Dessen and Simone Elkeles.

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