Swimming Against the Tide by Helen Bailey

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Swimming Against the Tide by Helen Bailey

Buy Swimming Against the Tide by Helen Bailey at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Madeline Wheatley
Reviewed by Madeline Wheatley
Summary: If you enjoy Louise Rennison's books about Georgia Nicolson try this. The third book in a series of four (so far) about fourteen year old Electra Brown's life, which continues to trip her up at regular intervals!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: February 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340950302

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Electra Brown's life is never dull. In this book she deals with her super glam American cousin Maddy, her brother (aka the little runt), her friends Sorrel and Lucy (do they have boyfriends while she has none...), her soon-to-be-divorced parents and their new partners. All while continuing to swoon over the Spanish Lurve God, Jags. Even though he barely knows she exists Jags manages to get Electra into serious trouble with her cousin Maddy. Have you ever elaborated on the truth to impress your friends? Electra learns just how easily this can backfire as the result of a teensy weensy white lie in an email to Maddy. And what about FB - Frazer Burns - could we be about to witness the transformation of Freak Boy into Fit Boy?

With such a lengthy cast of characters you may think that you need to start reading about Electra from book one Life at the Shallow End. Don't worry, this book stands on its own merits, and it is very easy to enter Electra's world. The big issues of Electra's life are dealt with alongside the typical teenage post mortems of every conversation of the school day. If you enjoy this title, you will want to read the rest, but it's not essential to start at the beginning. Helen Bailey has captured the day to day concerns of her heroine to a T. Electra's thoughts ring true whether she is worrying about her lack of boyfriends, coping with her parents, obsessing about how she looks, or even simply sticking her clothes through the wash without checking for tissues…

Like Louise Rennison, Helen Bailey admits to a degree of borrowing from her own adolescence to create her characters, but Electra and her friends are very definitely present-day teenagers. Mobys and ipods are ever-present, with one girl suffering the ultimate humiliation of being dumped by text. This adds credibility and increases the sense of recognition girls in particular will feel when reading this book.

Electra's habit of thinking shallow thoughts in the midst of deeply serious situations could occasionally offend adult sensibilities. For example, the author embeds the news of Electra's grandma's potentially life-threatening illness in a series of jokey comments. To me this was simply how this teenager deals with frightening thoughts – disarm them with a joke. Read Swimming Against the Tide yourself, and tell Bookbag what you think.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of Running in Heels by Helen Bailey.

Stop in the Name of Pants! by Louise Rennison is the book to try next if you have not read it, alongside the other stories about Electra by Helen Bailey.

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Buy Swimming Against the Tide by Helen Bailey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Swimming Against the Tide by Helen Bailey at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Swimming Against the Tide by Helen Bailey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Swimming Against the Tide by Helen Bailey at Amazon.com.


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