A British author of fiction for teens offers advice to young women in this self-help guide that covers a wide variety of topics.
Employing a conversational tone, she begins with an introduction to gender as social construct, sexism, and a brief overview of women's history. Lists of contemporary and historically famous women are ethnically and class diverse. However, the discussion about feminism leaves out the issues of white, straight, and class privilege that often divide feminists, even though another chapter points out the clique hierarchy particular to adolescence that drives wedges between teen girls. From there, the author breezily provides solid health information about periods and puberty, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy, as well as tips about bullying, hairstyles, clothes, hygiene, makeup, body hair and its removal, relationships, and talking to boys. Black-and-white comics and graphics enhance the format. Though mention is made of the possibility that some readers may be gay (and a short note about being transgender is included early on), an entire chapter entitled “Matters of the Heart” presumes that the objects of crushes and dates will be boys, with only a short aside about feelings of attraction toward girls.
Though it’s informative and often funny, this book’s appeal will ultimately be limited due to assumptions that are made about its readers. (Nonfiction. 12-18)