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BAD GIRLS by Jacqueline Wilson

BAD GIRLS

By Jacqueline Wilson (Author) , Nick Sharratt (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 2001
ISBN: 0-385-72916-2
Publisher: Delacorte

The protagonists in this English import by the author of The Lottie Project (1999)—and other books about funny, feisty girls—aren’t the bad girls of the title. That “honor” is reserved for three featured players who are among the rottenest female bullies readers will likely ever have come across in fact or fiction. The two heroines, however, are terrific—by turns funny, heart-warming, and fully deserving of readers’ compassion, for each suffers a lot in her own way. Ten-year-old Mandy White, bespectacled and small for her age, is picked on relentlessly and mercilessly by said trio of tormentors whom readers will want to slap silly. To make matters worse, Mandy’s adoring mother, a first-time parent in late middle age, babies her daughter almost beyond reason. Then into Mandy’s life comes bohemian new neighbor Tanya, an orange-spike-haired free spirit. Tanya is a foster child four years Mandy’s senior who dresses in sequined tops, short shorts, and high-heeled sandals. She also dabbles in occasional shoplifting. She accepts Mandy unconditionally and quickly, and the girls become best friends. While this may not be entirely believable, it’s made plain that Tanya gets along very well with younger children and apparently prefers their company. The novel also hints at very unhappy events in Tanya’s life that help to explain her desperate need for friendship, affection, and a real family life. Sadly, the girls are ultimately parted when Tanya is sent away after a particularly hairy shoplifting escapade. But by that time, the friendship has allowed Mandy to find the strength to learn how to assert herself with her mother, to finally stand up to the bullies, and to accept another true friend in a male classmate. Youngsters will have a jolly good time with these bad, no, great girls in a read that’s fun though sometimes implausible. (Fiction. 9-12)