Review Blog

Jun 27 2012

Adorkable by Sarra Manning

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Atom 2012 . ISBN 9781907411007.
(Age: for teens 15+ ) Jeane Smith is a 17 year old dork and proud of it. So proud of it she's made a successful career out of it. As 'Adorkable' she blogs, Tweets and texts her way to overseas conferences, newspaper columns and interviews.  She's an authority on her generation but one who disdains their conformity. She's a loner, and her friends are the Internet, her iPhone and her iPad. She wears clothes from Jumble sales (read orange tights), lives on her own, dyes her hair grey and survives on Haribo jelly sweets. Her separated parents  live abroad and her guardian older sister is a doctor in Chicago. Jeane is confident, witty, clever and bitchy. But is she really a dork or is it all an act to be noticed?
Jeane's dork status is sorely tested when the most popular, straight and desirable boy in the school falls for her and before they know it they are in a sexual relationship. The sex here is honest, open and believable. The book alternates chapters from his point of view with hers. This captures the way the same event can be totally differently interpreted by the two people involved. Jeane persuades Michael to lie to his parents and fly with her to New York for a weekend. Naturally trouble then brews. Eventually Jeane is alone on Christmas Eve, in difficulty, and with no-one to turn to but Michael and his family. When she then experiences his happy family life she has to decide who she really is and what she really wants.
This is a witty, entertaining book full of punchy come-back lines. Themes of identity, family influence, social norms and growing up are explored, and the character of Jeane, despite her voicing authorial-sounding insights on her generation, is memorable.  Girls will love this very contemporary look at Gen Y set in England. Michael is perhaps too good to be true but the theme of celebrating difference is refreshing and 'dorky maybe the new cool.'
Kevyna Gardner

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