Review Blog

Apr 02 2012

Love-shy by Lili Wilkinson

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN 9781742376233.
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Penny Drummond wants to be a journalist. She is honing her skills on the school's newspaper and decides that she needs a big story, one that is different to the rest in the paper. When she discovers that a boy at her school is posting anonymous messages on a love-shy forum, she makes it her mission to 'find him, fix him, feature-article him. Next stop: Pulitzer Prize.' (Back cover).
Penny is judgmental, bossy and has no close friends. She pushes her way through life at school, not really realising that she is a social misfit. She is not prepared to forgive her mother for leaving home when her dad told her he was gay. She is taken back when Rin the girl next door makes overtures of friendship, and competes madly with Hamish, the editor of the paper. But it is the gorgeous, enigmatic Nick who really appeals to her. The descriptions of Penny gradually learning about relationships are touching, while also often being extremely humourous.
I just loved the quirky language in this book. Wilkinson had me grinning throughout most of it, as Penny wobbles her way through all the boys in her year at school, getting them to answer the most atrocious survey. When she finally finds the boy who is love-shy, he is totally unexpected and Penny discovers that not only does he need some fixing, there might be areas in her life and self that need fixing as well. On the way she gains some empathy for others and learns that she can't always be the best or the first.
Beautifully written humour is rare to find in books for teens and Love-shy has lots of it. Kids who pick up this book, with its quirky heroine, love-shy boy and hints of romance, will be sure to pass it around to their friends.
Pat Pledger

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