Challenge: How many unread books are on your shelves?

our true shelves

Confession: I have a lot of unread books on my bookshelves. Tuff life. It drives me bonkers every day, just looking at them, teasing me. I so badly want to read them all by yesterday. Because awesome new books come out every week. How is a bibliophile supposed to keep up? I receive new books pretty often to review, on top of buying ones that I’m interested in, and I really want to read all of them. Who knew being interested in so many things could bother you? :p But the only way I could do that is if I did nothing else. (Wouldn’t be the worst.)

I know I’m not the only one with this problem. I see all you book bloggers and bookworms with your fantastic shelves on Instagram and know there’s just no way you could have read all those books. We can’t feel too guilty because we know we’re supporting authors, publishers and bookstores, and we’re interested in lots of stories, so let’s be proud and honest about what we have. 😉

I have….. 136 unread books on my shelves.

So, I challenge you! How many unread books are on your shelves? Share on Twitter and Instagram with #OurTrueShelves!

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Book Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

the loose ends list via paper trail diary

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone, via Little Brown, out now.

[I received this book from Hachette Books Canada in exchange for an honest review; this did not affect my opinion of the book whatsoever.]

“Hey Mads, one more thing. I want to make sure you understand that this trip is not about poor, dying Gram.” She looks at me, her face serious. “That is not what I want from all of this. I want to have some laughs, and get you people out of your boring little lives. This is not about dying. It’s about living. Do you understand?”

Maddie is so close to finishing high school when she finds out that her beloved grandma has pancreatic cancer. But not only that – Maddie’s grandma, Astrid, has booked the entire family for an eight week summer ‘vacation’ on a death with dignity cruise to see her off in style. From Maddie’s Loose Ends List of things to do before she starts university, in which she had crossed out ‘change hair colour,’ to Astrid’s list that takes the family all over the world in order to say goodbye, you could say Maddie’s boat has been rocked.

Maddie is the kind of pretty girl who doesn’t drink but drives all her sloppy best friends home from parties, the kind of girl who is the proper popular girl in school. (So I got a kick out of her being brought down a few notches by randomly mentioning that she has IBS. *shrug*) Maddie is careful, focused and safe. She has a ‘scrunch face.’ She’s a bit self absorbed. Astrid wants their adventure to show Maddie how much she can be living by taking risks, jumping in head first and not asking questions. (So, obviously, this includes hooking up with someone, smoking weed, getting a tattoo and learning to accept death.) It is interesting to be along for that mental process.

Maddie belongs to a dysfunctional family which includes her drunk mom, boring dad, stoner brother, sexy cousin, senile aunt and gay uncles. Each of them have something to overcome on this adventure, and they all learn new things. Some of them take a front seat in the story, which I liked. And I enjoyed how ridiculous Astrid is, though I could never imagine my grandma acting that way. What I liked the most though was how the family interacts with the other families on the cruise – the ones who were dying and the ones who love them. It gives them perspective.

Maddie and her family have lived a pretty privileged lifestyle, and to be able to say goodbye to a loved one in such an extravagant way is quite a finale. Astrid’s wealth is never really explained, but it is endless enough that it can generously help every main character out. I’m talkin’ Astrid not only paid for 10 people to travel the world, but she also helps bankroll the cruise ship and has arranged to leave a significant amount for everyone once she passes. But it’s quite clear that we’re not supposed to be thinking about the money here, we’re supposed to be thinking about how people can learn and grow, it’s just something that stuck with me. Is this really realistic? Should it be?

When I started reading the book, I enjoyed its silliness and fluffiness. I was excited to travel the world through the characters. It was a pretty quick read, but around the middle it started to plateau and I was a little impatient and annoyed. I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of characters and locations because there were so many. It’s definitely a summer read – it’s cool to read books in the time frame that they take place in, too – and it’s best if you just abandon control and go along for the ride. There’s romance, adventure, and family problems galore! A winning mixture. This book also won major points from me because it’s the prettiest cover I’ve seen all year! I can’t stop looking at it!

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Check out the International Geek Girls Pen Pals Club

pen pal via paper trail diary

If you’re looking for a fun new corner of the internet to belong to, the International Geek Girls Pen Pals Club is a vibrant online community for fandom-loving, book-reading, letter-writing pals. Seriously, just following them on social media is so fun, positive and inclusive. There is so much in their world – forums, book clubs, videos, swaps, etc – for people to dive into and get creative with.

If you join the IGGPPC, you are sorted into a House for your age range. This gives you access to the full community.

Every month, the IGGPPC runs a pen pal matching service – you can sign up between the 15th and last day of the month by filling out a form about yourself and what you harbour a fandom love for. Then the mods will find someone in your House that would make a great pal! Every month the group has a theme too – this month is ‘craft-a-mageddon!’

Hankering for a new pen pal who loves the same things you do? You two would make lovely mail together. You can sign up now!

international geek girls pen pal club

iggppc-manifesto

Georgia Nicolson Readalong – Away Laughing on a Fast Camel

georgia nicolson away laughing on a fast camel paper trail diary

Welcome back to the Georgia Nicolson Readalong!

Quick refresher: in honour of our dearly departed Teen Queen Louise Rennison, I started a readalong so that we could read (or re-read) her classic Georgia Nicolson series. Every three weeks we’ll post about the next book in the series. You’re invited to join in at any time!

You can catch up with posts on Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God, Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas and Dancing in My Nuddy Pants.

Please note that if you haven’t read this book yet and intend to, there are spoilers!


We are now halfway done the Georgia Nicolson Readalong! It’s going by so quickly!

After a couple duds, Away Laughing on a Fast Camel put a little zing back into the Georgia Nicolson series. For most of the book, Georgia is realizing the power she can have over guys and is figuring out how to use it. When the book starts, she is mourning losing Robbie the Sex God to New Zealand, but still can’t stop thinking about Dave the Laugh. But Dave soon falls to the friends-with-benefits zone once Georgia sets her eyes on the Stiff Dylans’ replacement singer, Italian-American Masimo.

I found it a bit odd that Georgia has so easily written Dave into ‘Horn Advisor’ territory, but is so casual about ‘oh then why did we snog?’ – I think she’s just choosing not to see what’s there, and likes having attention from multiple guys. She also knows it would be upsetting for her friend Ellen if she made another public move on Dave, who is clearly a boy version of Georgia – goes out with other people while still into someone else. Georgia is at the point in her teens (at this point she is 16) when she’s really only focused on how sexy a guy is, not so much on what’s inside his head. But she does start to realize that guys are usually focused on the same thing. To Georgia, Masimo is yet another confusing heartbreaker of a rock star, whereas Dave can see a true version of Georgia and be enamoured by it.

This quote was quite serious in a book of comedy, after Georgia is feeling a bit traumatized by advances from her neighbours.

Jas said I am being all mean and moody because of Dave the Laugh, but what she doesn’t know is that it’s not just Dave the Laugh, it’s Oscar, and now Mark Big Gob as well. I feel all ashamed somehow. Like I am tainted love.

I really liked reading Georgia’s relationship with her friend Rosie in this book. While she still dubs Jas her best friend, even though treating her horribly, Georgia and Rosie have more of what you’d expect from a best friend relationship. They are more frankly supportive of each other, listen to each other and have fun together. Georgia just always makes fun of Jas and never listens to her. Though that’s put to a test a bit once Jas’ boyfriend, Tom, Robbie’s brother, decides he also wants to go to New Zealand.

Georgia’s family is still in a continuously hilarious ‘ditherspaz,’ which I love reading because it’s so bonkers. But you do get some clues that her parents can be unhappy but she doesn’t care. Libby is still the weirdest kid ever, who walks around the house singing “Sex Bum, Sex BUM, I’m a Sex Bum” and calling the broom “bloody thing, bloody thing.” Interesting things she picks up! Another new character in this book was Gordon, one of Angus’ fur babies. Georgia’s little sister Libby forcefully adopts him and he becomes a point of humour throughout the book – the father and son cats who love getting into trouble.

Away Laughing on a Fast Camel also provided many beautiful quotes, such as “I feel like a bean in a bikini, tossed around on the sea of life,” “I am exhausted by trying to get along with the Lord,” and “over the shoulder boulder holder.”

Some problems we noticed in the other books such as Georgia’s obviously confused homophobia is still there, unfortunately. It makes me wonder what Louise thought, if this book was such a mirror of her life. I would say at this point these books don’t fully stand the test of time, but they can still provide a bunch of dumb laughs.

What did you guys think of the book? We will reconvene for Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers on July 5.

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Book Review: With Malice by Eileen Cook

with malice via paper trail diary

With Malice by Eileen Cook, via HMH Books, out now.

Jill is pretty disoriented when she wakes up. In fact she can barely move or speak. Her head feels like it’s going to explode. Jill didn’t just wake up from a long night of partying – she woke up in a hospital with no memory of the last six weeks. But those memories are crucial because what knocked her out was a tragic car crash on a school trip to Italy. Her best friend Simone was in the car too, but didn’t survive. Jill doesn’t know yet that people are blaming her for murder outside of the hospital walls.

What a hook, right?! If you’re not interested in a story out of that then I’m going to think you live in a cave with fire as your only entertainment. As suspense/thrillers are all the rage these days, the genre has been leaking into YA, like with The OutliersWith Malice joins those ranks with intensity and mind games.

With Malice follows Jill’s time spent in the rehab hospital, regaining her physical strength and trying to will memories back into existence with a psychologist. She’s often posed with the question of ‘well even if you don’t remember, do you think you would kill her if you got angry?’ which she rejects because Simone was her best friend, Simone meant everything to her. Why would she do something like that? And why don’t people believe her?

While Jill is being speared in articles and blogs by former classmates, trip mates and complete randos as a hateful bitch, jealous of Simone and murderous because she’s quiet, she has to sit inside and read it all, unable to do anything about it. Then she finds out there was a man. That she was supposedly in a relationship with an Italian TA, Nico, on the trip. She doesn’t remember that at all, and is shocked that she even had a boyfriend because he would’ve been her first. Theories pop up about sleezy Nico’s involvement and how Simone was always desperate to be the centre of attention. Was there a love triangle? Did Nico kill Simone? So many questions.

I found that With Malice ended up being more about psychological themes than dark and suspenseful. It clearly is trying to spit what we often see in the media back at us: people can be completely torn apart without facts, using photos out of context and impressions other people had. We could think something about someone based off an impression but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

They had another picture of me too. Someone must have taken it during rehearsals for the play. I was wearing my costume, and I had on bright red lipstick. The photo had caught me mid-laugh so my mouth was open wide. It looked like I was cackling. I looked like ‘that person.’ The kind of person who talks during a movie, who cheats at Monopoly, who drops food on the pages of a library book and just turns it in, the person who uses the last of the toilet paper and lets the next person air dry. The kind of person you hate.

People are always hungry for a story and a witch hunt, especially one that pits girls against each other. “It doesn’t matter what’s true,” Jill’s hospital roommate Anna tells her, “what matters is what people believe.”

We have to think alongside Jill: what would we do if we were pushed to our limits? What can we picture ourselves doing? How much can we trust our memories? How well do we know ourselves? How much do you care about what others think of you? It’s tiring to work your brain like that but it’s worth it.

With Malice is going to get people questioning a lot of things this summer. It brings you in with a thrilling hook and sits you down to think. It’ll give you clues throughout Jill’s narrative, blog posts, articles, police interviews and a travel guide to the places in Italy they were in. You’ll go through it quickly because you’ll want to be connecting the dots just as much as Jill does.

I have thoughts about the ending but obviously I won’t share them! But if you’ve read it too, I want to discuss.

Thanks to Raincoast Books, I’ve been included on the With Malice Canadian blog tour. Check out these other great bloggers who are all giving their two cents about the book! Melissa at YA Bookshelf has her review up today, too.

With Malice Blog Tour

With the blog tour comes a question I got to ask Eileen:

TPPD: Memory is the real pinpoint of the story. To lose six weeks worth of it is terrifying. How good do you think your memory is? I have a terrible memory and that worries me sometimes. What’s a memory you have that you’re not totally sure is solid (could it be more from hearing what others have told you, a home video, etc)?

Eileen: I worked for years as a counselor for people with catastrophic injuries and illness, including brain injury. One of the hardest aspects for people to cope with in the recovery phase was the loss of memory—not knowing what happened in your own life is freaky! What really happened to anyone is filtered through past experiences, memory, and belief systems. In the book I hoped to give readers the experience of trying to sift through all this information and decide for themselves what they believed happened.

Recently I was talking to my long-term best friend Laura about how we met when she moved to our small town. She suddenly interrupted me saying: “That’s not how it happened at all! Don’t you remember I was friends with Carrie first and we only became friends after Carrie became sick and had to leave school?” As soon as she said it the memory snapped into place, but before she mentioned it, I had completely forgotten about Carrie. Zap. Not in my head at all.  I remembered it completely differently. I had complete memories of how I talked to her on her first day—and all of that never happened. It was a bit disturbing. It makes me wonder what else I’ve forgotten and replaced with a different memory.

Are you excited to read With Malice? How well do you trust your memories?

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Book Reviews: Flannery and Museum of Heartbreak

flannery and the museum of heartbreak via paper trail diary

Here we are with another couple YA reviews! Told you guys I’ve piled them up lately. Today we have two super cute contemporaries about young girls who are loveable but need to go through a life lesson or two in order to see their surroundings a bit differently.

Flannery by Lisa Moore, via Groundwood Books, out now.

Flannery, a 16-year-old living in St. John’s, Newfoundland (I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a character in Newfoundland!), has a few problems. Her single mother can barely afford to pay rent or buy her a textbook, her best friend has ditched her for a new boyfriend, she has a big assignment for her entrepreneurship class due and she’s partnered with the guy she’s had a crush on since she was a kid. Tyrone is the bad boy now, but that’s not who Flannery remembers, but that’s who she’s attracted to. She still thinks of him as the vulnerable boy. Tyrone is barely at school and never shows up to help with her assignment, but she’d still drop anything to spend five minutes with the eternally stoned motorcycle dude he has become. But it was his idea for their project to come up with a business: love potions. Fake potions, they’re just like mood rings, a novelty. But then word gets out around school that the love potions work.

The book is presented to be more about Tyrone and the love potions, but I felt that it ended up being more about Flannery’s relationships in general, especially with her mom and her best friend. Both of these relationships are going through trying times and Flannery needs to see how they’re going to resolve themselves. She’s constantly angry with her mom, Miranda, for being weird and poor, and she misses her friend Amber like crazy because Amber has basically up and dumped her for a new social circle and controlling boyfriend with no warning. (The Amber storyline is the saddest – I appreciate that more books are tackling what a friend breakup can be like, as it’s something very real that people go through at all ages but don’t really talk about it.)

I thought the story itself was pretty cute and realistic; I think it’s loosely based off the author’s and her children’s lives, and I quite liked Flannery as a character. She has great vocabulary – “hoofed it” and “beat it” in reference to hurrying somewhere made me giggle – and she’s a little bit clueless so you follow her as she learns. I did think that the story progressed too slowly, though. I craved a bit more action and focus. The love potion part didn’t even come in to play until after 100 pages. I was also a bit distracted by quotes not being within quotation marks (but that’s just a personal thing). Overall, it was still an enjoyable read and I treasured it even more so because it was Canadian.

(Thank you to House of Anansi / Groundwood Books for the review copy.)

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder, via Simon & Schuster, out now.

This book is going to be high up on my Best of 2016 list. I absolutely adored reading it – it was so fun and adorable, I felt giddy bringing it around to places with me.

Penelope Marx has a lot of similar problems that Flannery had – pining after a seemingly unattainable boy, having a falling-out with a best friend, and being completely oblivious when someone else likes you. But when Flannery felt slower, The Museum of Heartbreak felt bouncier. I liked Penelope a lot even though she could be a bit of a baby sometimes; I think maybe I saw a lot of myself in her when I read it or I felt like her big sister, wanting to guide her. And I realized while reading this book that maybe one reason why I like YA so much is because I get to be immersed in versions of high school that are cooler than my own was.

Penelope doesn’t like change. Like, really doesn’t. She wants things to always be the same in her comfort bubble. But to Penelope, right now, everything is changing, so she’s not very happy. She collects little things that were given to her as nostalgic items, which are adorably chronicled ahead of each chapter in an illustration. They all eventually amount to The Museum of Heartbreak. (I really want to know – what came first, the items in the book or the items used for the cover art?) This book also contends for one of my favourite covers of the year.

I happily dog-eared so many pages in the book for quotes and important moments. Penelope’s voice is just so softly cheeky. Like “…his grin was sly and handsome, like a fox, or a character from a Wes Anderson movie, or that fox character from that Wes Anderson movie…” when describing her crush, Keats (who is an idiot!!). Or when debating how to answer what she wants to do in college: “I shovelled some spaghetti around on my plate. ‘I’m thinking more English or journalism. Words, I like them?’ I ended uncertainly.” (That just made me laugh because I identified with it so well. Even with the spaghetti.) I loved reading the interactions between her and her male best friend Eph, who so obviously likes Penelope but she has no clue. And it was tough to see her go through the fight with her other best friend Audrey because of miscommunication, jealousy and a boy.

I’ve recommended this book to friends as a great refresher after reading dark things for a while, though you can read it whenever – it’s lighthearted, sweet and seriously fun. We all know it’s fun to read books and all, but I really felt that extra happiness while reading this. The Museum of Heartbreak is out next week and I think it’s going to do really well!

(Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and Chapters Indigo for the review copy.)

What are some of your favourite cute contemporary YA novels?

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Stationery Talk: Thoughtful Types

thoughtful types stationery via paper trail diaryI love how meta stationery can be. A good example is Thoughtful Types, a new British stationer, which creates stationery exclusively for the paper lover. The designs feature your favourite tools: pens, washi tape, clips, etc. How could any stationery addict resist? I am so interested in how the stationery business has taken off because of the increased love for snail mail that’s happening online. There’s a market and it’s full of eager shoppers, so clearly Thoughtful Types is on to something! (Side note: check out this article in The New York Times about ‘the comeback’ of stationery!)

Thoughtful Types’ designer Hannah recently sent me some of her products, and I’m happy to share them with you guys! Her designs are colourful, eye-catching and fun. Plus they’re affordable, which is something paper hoarders’ wallets have to think about a lot 😉

I know I’m going to have a lot of happy pen pals when they receive mail from me with these cute papers!

You can purchase Thoughtful Types’ stationery on Etsy. And thanks to Hannah, you can indulge in a discount code — entering STATIONERYLOVE20 at checkout will get you 20% off!

PS – Don’t forget to sign up to my weekly newsletter (goes out on Fridays) about fun papery things!

Book Reviews: The Outliers and If I Was Your Girl

the outliers and if i was your girl via paper trail diary

I have some shorter reviews here for you today – I’ve been packing on the books lately (and it feels so goooood) and I don’t feel like stretching out reviews for weeks! Here we have two quick young adult reads that were recently published – Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl and Kimberly McCreight’s The Outliers. Both compelling and satisfying in their own directions, they’re likely to have top spots on your local bookstore’s new YA table. And just to add something else to the mix, I’ll include a ‘paper pairing’ based on the characters with each review.

The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight

I am very close to falling into a rabbit hole of suspense novels – I’m basically teetering on the edge – they’re so addictive! I heard a lot of great buzz about this book (and thank you to Chapters Indigo & HarperCollins Canada for the ARC) and judging by the reaction of a good friend of mine, I knew I’d have to read it when I had the time to lose a day or two to a book. So it was a great long weekend indulgence! Wylie is in the thick of experiencing extreme stress, depression and agoraphobia when she finds out her friend Cassie is missing. The two girls haven’t talked in a while since Wylie’s mother died in a car accident and she stopped going to school, but when Cassie texts Wylie saying “Please, Wylie, I need your help,” Wylie barely thinks twice about helping her friend, even though her dad cryptically warned her not to leave the house after going on a search with Cassie’s mom. Then Cassie’s boyfriend Jasper, who Wylie has never liked, shows up at her door saying Cassie asked him to help. Basically, Wylie and Jasper end up on this uber-creepy mission with minimal clues on where to go sent by text message – they pass through multiple states and end up in the deep, dark woods of Maine. I don’t want to tell you much more because it’ll give things away, but I can assure you I was glued to this book once the mission started to get going. I had no idea what was going to happen, I was just as dumbfounded as the characters, and you should be too! I knew before reading this that Reese Witherspoon is planning on making a movie of this series (yes, it’s going to be a trilogy! Gah!) so I sort of read it like it was a movie, which was pretty easy because it was so fast-paced. I wouldn’t say the writing style is top-notch in terms of pretty prose or anything, and I got confused a few times, but that might have been because I was flipping the pages quickly because I liked the story itself so much! Anyhoo, now I am feeling impatient for book two, even though it’ll be at least a year until it comes out.

Paper pairing: My first thought was post-it notes for some reason in the form of breadcrumbs so Wylie and Jasper could leave clues, but really, their story doesn’t have time for that! Not even a notebook to take down all the craziness that happens.

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

I have noticed how more books about trans characters have been coming out within the last year, and I’m thrilled. I was instantly intrigued in this book as soon as I heard about it, and there were months until I could read it! I was so itchy! Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school – but nobody knows that Amanda used to be Andrew. And should that even matter? One of the most amazing things about this book is that it’s not about people attacking a trans character’s appearance – Amanda is a woman through and through. It’s not entirely about fighting the battle of bullying, either. If I Was Your Girl simply focuses on Amanda’s budding romance with Grant and her friendship with classmates; what it’s like to be a girl growing up in high school. You’re captivated by Amanda’s voice from the beginning and you want to be her best friend. You ‘aww’ when she blushes and frown when she’s worried or upset. (Both happen frequently.) Amanda’s story comes out of a dark place but she’s here to show you trans kids can have a bright future. If anyone has recommendations on books about trans boys, I’m all ears. The majority of what I’ve seen so far have been about trans girls. Absolutely nothing wrong about that, I’m just curious and want to read more! Also great facts about this book in general: the author and cover model of the book are both trans women. Yay!

Paper pairing: Seeing as it’s about a girl in high school experiencing her first love, it’s easy for me to see Amanda having a really cool planner decked out in interesting doodles, stickers and notes.

What young adult books have you been loving lately?

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Come to Q&A Letterbox’s First Anniversary Party!

q&a letterbox anniversary via paper trail diary

My good pals Q&A Letterbox (aka Queenie and Andrea) are throwing an amazing party tomorrow to celebrate their subscription package’s first anniversary! If you’re not aware of Q&A Letterbox, let. me. tell. you. Every month, they send out three Canadian-made greeting cards, plus a goodie of some sort. The cards are guaranteed to be absolutely gorgeous and the packaging is always top notch. It’s a delight to receive in the mailbox!

Q&A have planned an awesome shindig for tomorrow evening (6 to 9 pm at Toronto’s First Post Office). I’ll be there at a table providing lots of free stationery (papers, tapes, stickers, ephemera, coloured pens, etc) in order to write letters right there on the spot, as well as selling my curated letter writing kits! I’m super excited to be doing something like this again. But there will be sooo much more to indulge in!

At the event, you can:

It’s free to attend (but obviously will cost you if you want to buy things, and you will want to buy all the things. Fair warning 🙂

Can’t wait to see all my fellow paper-loving Torontonians tomorrow!

Georgia Nicolson Readalong – Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants

dancing in my nuddy-pants via paper trail diary

Welcome back to the Georgia Nicolson Readalong!

Quick refresher: in honour of our dearly departed Teen Queen Louise Rennison, I started a readalong so that we could read (or re-read) her classic Georgia Nicolson series. Every three weeks we’ll post about the next book in the series. You’re invited to join in at any time!

You can catch up with posts on Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, On the Bright Side, I’m Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God and Knocked Out By My Nunga-Nungas.

Please note that if you haven’t read this book yet and intend to, there are spoilers!


The first three books in the series strongly enforced the theme of what it’s like to be a girl who is starting to go through puberty, getting attention from guys and fighting with friends. It solidly did the job over three books, but it needed to pick up the pace a bit. Dancing in My Nuddy-Pants doesn’t quite highlight that much about the aforementioned besides mentions here and there about buying bras and boys leering at them in the streets. It doesn’t quite highlight anything. Not much happens, and it feels like an in-between. I feel like if this series was to be published in current day, the requirements for plot would be a bit different. I’m not sure what it was like a decade ago, but it’s interesting to think about. I know it’s more realistic that big drama doesn’t happen all the time, but for these kinds of things, reality has to be bent a bit. But by the fourth book, a series has attracted an audience who will gobble anything up.

The one thing I really liked about this book was that there were more funny scenes with Georgia’s family. They may not be funny to her, but they sure are to everyone else. In one scene, Georgia’s dad was trying to prove he was manly around her mum by saying he was going to do sit-ups:

When I went back into the front room, Dad was back lying on the sofa watching TV. I asked him, “How many sit-ups did you do?”

“Well, I think it’s a mistake to rush into things.”

“Just the one, then?”

He pretended to be interested in some gardening program.

Here’s another with her mum and little sister Libby:

Libby was still up when I got in. She had her pajama top on but her bottom was flowing free and wild. She is not what you would call inhibited, which is a pity. She was giving Teddy a late-night haircut. Mum said when I came in, “Come on, Libbs, it’s very late and your big sister is home now. Time for bed.”

Libby didn’t even look up, she just said, in an alarmingly grown-up voice, “Not now, dear, I’m busy.”

I’ve also always fondly remembered Sven, Georgia’s friend Rosie’s Swedish boyfriend. I remembered that there was a scene that made me laugh for a million years when I first read it as a teen. It was this:

Met the gang at the usual place to go to the gig. Sven had his special flares on. They have a battery in them and little lightbulbs all the way down the seams. When he presses the battery his trousers light up. He really is bonkers. And huge.

When we got to the door of the Buddha Lounge he said to the door guy, “Got evening, I am Sven and these are my chicks. Let us in, my trousers want to boogie.” And Rosie isn’t a bit embarrassed.

I still think it’s great!

The more and more Georgia teases her best friend Jas for being moral and boring, the more I like Jas, to be honest. So I was satisfied when Jas finally bit back a bit when Georgia’s apologizing for hitting her knee in field hockey by offering to carry Jas home. “All right, don’t drop me, though.” She then made Georgia polish a badge and feed her a snack. Get it, girl.

Through the book, Georgia moons over how Robbie’s band The Stiff Dylans are going to America (“Hamburger-a-go-go-land”) and she daydreams about going with him. But she must be thinking in the back of her mind that that’s not going to happen for her, though he may leave eventually (she doesn’t quite address it in her diary, but come on!). So when we get to the end and Robbie breaks it to her he’s leaving – though to go work on an ecological farm in New Zealand instead – she’s upset but confusingly relieved. And since Dave the Laugh dumped her friend Ellen, that’s where her mind is going to go, because she’s still quite attracted to him and realizes she can be more herself around him than she could with Robbie. I don’t remember what happens next, but I’m predicting Georgia + Dave will be the force of the next book, Away Laughing on a Fast Camel (one of Dave’s sayings).

Overall, I read this book in about an hour, so it wasn’t a horrible thing that I was bored by it, really. One hour of my life. I still got some giggles, so that’s fine by me.

What did you guys think of the book? We will reconvene for Away Laughing on a Fast Camel on June 14.