My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig

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My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Fun teen dating diary in which tomboy Kelly Ann comes to see that boys aren't so bad after all. If only she had a chest with which to attract one! Down-to-earth and funny, if light, it's a perfect holiday read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Corgi
ISBN: 0552557587

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Kelly Ann likes football. She is a Rangers fan. Mr Ferguson the PE teacher won't let girls on the school team, which is probably the third most annoying thing in Kelly Ann's life. The second is her lack of a mobile phone. And the first is her lack of boobs, which renders her invisible to the opposite sex and gets her name up in lights as a lesbian in the graffiti at school. Not that Kelly Ann actually wants a boyfriend. Everybody knows boys suck, unless they're playing football with you. But even this tomboy can see that peer group pressure is going to require some snogging, and soon.

So Kelly Ann, aided by her best friend Liz, sets out to get a boyfriend, and things rarely - well, never - go to plan...

Kelly Ann reminded me of my younger son. She's young for her age - underdeveloped physically, but also in terms of personality. While her friends are swooning over boys, she's still reacting as a much younger child. She's confused by the swirling hormones coming from all her peers; she's still direct, honest, naive and tremendously lovable. She spends a good portion of the book trying to be something she's really not, despite what her wise friend Chris tries to tell her. And when, eventually, adolescence does kick in and she finally gets it, you really do want to give her three cheers.

My Dating Disasters Diary is vivid and fun right from page one. I liked the Scottish argot which creeps in from time to time - too many of these books are London-centric. And I really liked Kelly Ann's parents. They are - gasp - normal. Parents aren't always presented too well in teen books. They're either earnest and worthy and Very Good Parents, or they are complete disasters in a Failing Family. Kelly Ann's parents aren't like this. They're busy with their own lives and sometimes they see what's going on in their daughter's life and sometimes they don't. When they do, they are appropriately annoyed or kindly and helpful. But when they don't, they are cheerfully eating takeaways, going to the pub, or watching EastEnders. Kelly Ann's mother even smokes. It all gives a much more credible family background for a very recognisable teen drama.

Everything else is equally down-to-earth. Kelly Ann's various experiments with tampons are utterly hilarious and completely believable and her Spanish hangover is unforgettable. These small disasters blend perfectly with the main thrust of the story, which is Kelly Ann's metamorphosis from tomboy to boyband fanatic and her ongoing attempts to snog someone, anyone.

It's a bit light and frothy for my personal tastes, but I'm not a teen girl, and my progeny wear underpants, not knickers, so I don't count. Tween and young teen girls will love Kelly Ann and her various disasters will make the perfect holiday read.

My thanks to the nice people at Corgi for sending the book. We also have a review of Jumping to Confusions by Liz Rettig/

They might also enjoy Pretty Face by Mary Hogan. For a very different kind of teen diary novel, they couldn't do better than The Carbon Diaries 2015 by Saci Lloyd, which looks at a future Britain under carbon rationing. It's absolutely wonderful.

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Buy My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig at


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