The Taming of the Tights by Louise Rennison

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The Taming of the Tights by Louise Rennison

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: While there is little here to surprise people who have read any of Rennison's other books, this is still a delight – and not just for the target audience.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: July 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
ISBN: 9780007323920

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Tallulah has secretly done Number 6 with the Dark Black Crow of Heckmondwhite, if you don't know. What that means is that she has had a lip-lock with a Yorkshire boy who's all dark and moody and mean-seeming, and she shouldn't perhaps have snogged him because she likes another boy, and another, older boy – with a girlfriend – seems to like her a lot. What that means is that we are firmly in Louise Rennison territory.

Yes, there are perhaps far too many similarities between this series and her first, the Georgia Nicolson saga, which was an entertaining, but over-long, ten books and more of gushing comedy drama for the tween girls of the land. There are embarrassing adults, embarrassing very young children, and a boy in a band to lust after and someone else who actually turns out to be better (but which to go for…?!). Luckily there are just enough differences – the cadence of Lullah's talk is not pattered with made-up words, but nicknames and thoughts about owls. Her regular physical trope is not flicky-hair and causing herself embarrassment with cosmetics, but with acting like a plonker in a drama school in the middle of Yorkshire, and being compelled to get her gangly legs into action as an Irish dancer at any and all opportunities.

Sticking to this third volume in this series, however – the yellow one, in brief – we find far too much that is flashback. She tells us in copious ways what has happened, and what the situation is surrounding moody Cain the Bad, Alex the Good and Charlie the Unobtainable – and then promptly forgets about Alex completely. Still, there is another term to get through, with students who don't like her, natives who don't like any of the students, and the great big dilemma driving the whole series.

Luckily for us there is not only the social embarrassment side of things, and that conundrum Lullah has to face, but some brilliant lines. Like I say, this is the thirteenth full novel of the gorgeous Ms Rennison's I've read and I've never yet come across one that married such a candy-floss story with such an intelligent, adult stand-up style of comedy telling. There is nothing to frighten off the target audience, but the craft in the lines, the timing and delivery of the humour is so akin to an adult book this really was a treat to read at times. So even if it might be a disposable part of a larger sequence, and even if the plot means naff all to me and not much else to others, the charm of this cycle is definitely there for all to see, and for me to recommend.

Marks down for the errant moving from present to past tense in the narration - often in the same paragraph, sometimes in the same sentence.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The series started here. This series is for those who have just begun to outgrow the series started with Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell.

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