Reviews: Teen fiction

The Taming of the Tights
By Louise Rennison (HarperCollins, RRP $26)

Reviewed by Naida Mulligan

This completes a trilogy about the narrator Tallulah Casey, following Withering Tights and A Midsummer Tights Dream.

Lullah attends some sort of drama school in the small village of Heckmondwike near Skipley in Yorkshire.

I'm not sure about the significance of the name of the school, Dother Hall, but it does sound rather Dickensian. Lullah and her friends are at the boy crazy stage and aiming for number six on the Lulu-luuuve List.

No worries, there are a few wild village lads about as well as a whole school for delinquent young men on the other side of the forest.

Louise Rennison seems to be a highly critically acclaimed author and has even been dubbed "the queen of comedy".

The Tallulah Casey books are a spin off from her Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, of which there are 10 volumes.

Lullah is a younger cousin of Georgia.

I found it a difficult read to get into but in the end was cheering for Lullah.

She's a mad, crazy, loveable heroine.

I recommend starting with the first one though.

By Elizabeth Pulford, illustrated by Angus Gomes (Walker Books)

Reviewed by Naida Mulligan

Zara is in a coma, immersed in a subconscious world where she has to come to terms both with the terrible accident that took her brother's life and a traumatic event from her childhood.

The first-person narrative is always Zara's voice but the varying styles add interest to the story - we go deep inside her subconscious and back out to an account of events and the voices in the hospital room, and the story is accompanied with pop-art, comic-style illustrations.

This is excellent teen fiction by an award-winning New Zealand author.

Word Ghost
By Christine Paice (Allen & Unwin, RRP $37)

Reviewed by F Mulligan

Rebecca Budde is nearly 16, the middle of three daughters belonging to a C of E vicar, John, and his wife, Ruth.

Rebecca's life is turned upside down when her father transfers parishes to a small, hidden away country village. She takes it the hardest, having to leave her home town, her friends and, more importantly, her first boyfriend.

Her new home, though, has some surprises, not the least being that some of the village's previous inhabitants still seem to be around. Teenage "angst", love, relationships and poetry of the 19th-century romantic period are all themes that run through this story of a girl who finds friendship with a ghost. It is also a slight but nice walk down memory lane with the long hair, the flares and references to current events of early 70s Britain. It has an intriguing appeal and is reminiscent of a mild gothic horror.

The novel is probably best for a mature readership, not because of the ghosts but for the adult content.