Mates, Dates and Inflatable Bras, Bk. 1

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About the Author

Cathy lives with her husband and four cats. She is the author of the immensely popular Mates, Dates series, and also writes the Truth, Dare, Kiss or Promise series for Piccadilly. This Way to Paradise, the first book in her new Cinnamon Girl trilogy, will be published in March 2007.


Gr 6-9-Lucy, the main character in Cathy Hopkins's novel (Simon Pulse, pap. 2003), will remind listeners of Georgia in Louise Rennison's Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series (HarperCollins). The story here is told in the first person, but not in the scatter-shot diary format favored by Georgia. Fourteen-year-old Lucy is more introspective, less self-centered, and less superficial than Georgia, if not quite as laugh-out-loud hysterical. There is plenty here on the subject of boys, appearance, and changing friendships, and there's also is a fair dose of humor. Lucy displays a sensitivity and concern for her place in her family, her friendships, and her world. Amanda Hulme's rendition reflects the voice and phrasing of a young teen very well. She also subtly but convincingly distinguishes between the other characters. As Lucy struggles with looking younger than her friends and defining what she might like to do in the future with her particular talents, she meets her dream boy and she must seriously consider what it means to grow up and to find her own way. Fans of Georgia Nicolson will enjoy this well-rounded look at another young teenager working her way through the transition from young teen to adulthood. This thoughtful novel belongs in all audio collections serving young teens.-Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Lucy, Izzie and Nesta are 14-year-old Londoners in these first two volumes of British author Hopkins's lighthearted but predictable series. Sweet, young-looking Lucy narrates the first. Stumped when assigned an essay on "What makes me `me'?" Lucy enters a self-esteem nosedive worsened by a disastrous haircut. Finally, with a little help from her friends (who, among other things, buy her an inflatable bra) and a heart-to-heart with her mom, she's able to realize her gifts. In the less compelling second installment, New Age-ish Izzie takes the lead, as Mark, a boy selling essential oils at a market, plays games with her heart. Again, Izzie's friends and mom offer support, but it's while helping Lucy with her love life that Izzie wises up: "We should be the ones that choose or else we're all going to go through hell, up and down and round and round, trying to please boys but losing ourselves in the process." Hopkins's messages drip with girl power, and there are funny moments in each novel (Lucy trying to remove wax from her underarms, Izzie agonizing over her first "snog" with Mark). Inspirational quotes or Izzie's song lyrics tacked on to chapters add color, but the series pales next to Louise Rennison's hilarious books, which cover the same territory. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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