I received this book for free from Atom in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning
Published by Atom on May 1st 2014
Genres: Friendship, Love & Romance, Young Adult
Alice Jenkins is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many, many boys who've shimmied up lampposts and shoplifted from New Look to impress her, only to be dumped when she gets bored of them. Alice has a very low boredom threshold. But she never gets bored with Franny, her best friend since they met at nursery school. Friends are for ever. Ain't nothing going to come between them. Girls rule, boys drool is their motto. Well, it's Alice's motto, Franny doesn't have much time for boys; they're all totes immature and only interested in one thing. But then there's Louis Allen, lead singer of Thee Desperadoes, the best band in Merrycliffe-on-sea (though that could be because they're the only band in Merrycliffe-on-sea). He's a tousle-haired, skinny-jeaned, sultry-eyed manchild, the closest thing that Franny's ever seen to the hipsters that she's read about on the internet and she's been crushing on him HARD for the last three years. She's never worked up the courage to actually speak to him but she's sure on some deeper level that goes beyond mere words, Louis absolutely knows that she's his soulmate. He just doesn't know that he knows it yet. It's why he cops off with so many other girls. So, when Alice, bored with callow youths, sets her sights on Louis it threatens to tear the girls' friendship apart, even though they're better than fighting over a boy. They strike a devil's deal - may the best girl win. Best friends become bitter rivals and everything comes to an explosive conclusion on their first trip to London. Can true friendship conquer all?
Review: Ever since I was a teenager and read Let’s Get Lost, Sarra Manning has been one of my must-read YA authors. I just love her writing so I was pleased to snag an egalley of latest YA, The Worst Girlfriend In The World.
Franny’s best friend Alice is regarded as the worst girlfriend in the world to many of the local boys, with that title cheerfully blasted on the boy’s bathroom wall. However that’s never affected their friendship. Until Franny starts college to study fashion while Alice stays at their old school for sixth form cracks form. One almighty crack in their friendship called Louis Allen, lead singer of the awful local band The Desperadoes and Franny’s crush of choice for years. However, when Alice sets her sights on him how will their friendship survive their deal that the best girl wins in their quest for Louis?
I love YA novels that focus on friendship rather than romance and the relationship between Franny and Alice felt real and complex. I could understand both Franny and Alice, though the latter at times to a lesser extent as the narrator was Franny. Both Alice and Franny were well characterised and developed and I being able to read between the lines and see the vulnerability and insecurity in Alice that Franny wasn’t aware of.
The Desperadoes play a great role in The Worst Girlfriend In The World and there are some really funny moments with them, for example Alice and Franny wearing earplugs to their gig because they’re really awful. I thought Francis, a member of the band and also a technician at Franny’s college was a brilliant character and I really liked the friendship that developed between him and Franny.
Despite the comic moments, Manning does tackle some serious issues within this book and does so tactfully. For example, Franny’s mother has depression and Franny is struggling with this. Manning sympathetically conveys the strains and difficulties of depression for both the victim and their family. Often mental health is a subject people shy away from talking about so Manning raising this topic is incredibly important and also looked at depression in a slightly different way as the person living with someone with that condition and the difficulties – especially when it causes a role reversal between parents and their children.
Fans of Sarra Manning will not be disappointed by her latest offering and any fan of contemporary YA should find a lot to enjoy in this book; friendship, drama, romance, reality and exactly what it can be like to grow up in a smallish town and have big ambitions.