Christmas is coming. Where has the time gone? Seriously. We’re into December now. How did that happen? The days are filling up with activities, invitations and commmitments. The days that aren’t planned for fetes, markets, cake sales, pre-Christmas meetups or work trips have been allocated, by default, to planning, shopping and organising so that something resembling Christmas can take place in this house in 21 days’ time.
Normally that would all be fine. But for the past few weeks normal seems to be keeping a low profile. I can’t find it and I am refusing to accept that life as it is at the moment is the new normal. We’ve had a bout of head lice (all the children) followed a week later by a tummy bug (Number Three) and another week later by another tummy bug (Number Three again). To fully appreciate the drama of the most recent bout of illness it is probably best to read my Instagram post.
So, where I am going with this? I am supposed to be writing about my reading challenge here and that’s exactly what it is right now – a challenge. With all the laundry and the upsets to routines and the waking in the night to strip beds and the laundry and the laundry (and did I mention the laundry?) there hasn’t been much time to read. Or much inclination, to be honest.
With all that was going on, plus being back at work fours days a week, I find it easier to relax with crochet or weaving or baking than with a book. Maybe I just haven’t found the right book. Lately I’ve started two or three books but not been able to settle into the story. When an unexpected parcel from Pengiun books arrived last week containing a copy of ‘Girl Online’ by Zoe Sugg, I decided I’d give it a go. Considering it is the third book in a series and I haven’t read either of the others, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t make such sense of it .
BUT it turns out that this was just the kind of light-hearted distraction I was able to cope with. The books belongs in the Young Adult category, not a category I have read anything from in about twenty years. I never got into Harry Potter or any of the other children’s books that have crossover appeal to adults.
Penny, the central character in the book, is a sixteen year old from Brighton who is a blogger and photographer as well as being at school. The book begins with her dealing with her break-up with a US pop star. The storyline has a bit of everything for the teenage girl – an on-off romance, an attractive Scottish guy (ok, so not just for teenage girls), a gay best friend, a bitchy friend, trips to London, first dates and friends in high places.
It is not high brow or fantastic literature, but it is a good book for young teens, in my view, and I’ll tell you why. Penny suffers from anxiety, but she is open about it and dealing with it and not letting it hold her back. She holds back when not sure of a situation. She isn’t afraid to turn down a drink even though she recognises that this may make her seem young or uncool in the eyes of others. She is helpful, empathetic, fun-loving and knows right from wrong. All in all, a good peer role model.
If anyone would like to have this book for their teen / pre-teen daughter, leave me a comment and I’ll post this copy to you.
I’ve moved on to reading Parade’s End by Ford Maddoy Ford. I’m only a few pages in at the moment, but fingers crossed I’ll stick with it. It sounds like a good read and there’s a nice photo of Benedict Cumberbatch on the front cover.
[Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Girl Online as a gift by Penguin Books. I was not asked to review it but I chose to mention it here as part of my 40-by-40 reading challenge since it is a book I read this year. Giving away the book is my own idea and in no way endorsed by or compensated by Penguin Books. The postage cost will be covered by me.]