October 2014, Piccadilly Press, 192 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Content: lots of humour, some mild teen romance
Book summary (from press release email as it's not yet up on Piccadilly's website)
When thirteen-year-old Tabitha's parents split up, she's forced to move down to London with her mum and brother. Sounds cool right? Well there's just one teeny tiny hitch. They're moving in with Gran . . . Mental, very much NOT cool Gran, who talks to (AND FOR) her knitwear-adorned dog Basil like he's the son she never had. Worse still, her mum has decided to start writing an embarrassing blog (much of it about her teenage daughter) and her younger brother Luke's favourite pastime seems to be 'annoy Tab as much as humanly possible'.
All this embarrassment is particularly bad news as Tabitha has given herself a mission for her new school: to be the coolest, most popular girl there! Despite her family's best efforts, things get off to a good start as Tab quickly makes friends with A'isha and Emz (and manages to avoid total losers like Grace). She seems to be on the rise and rise - even meeting cute dog walker Sam whilst out with Basil - but then disaster strikes. Is Tab about to find out the real cost of popularity?
Tabitha's tale sounded hilarious, and it was! Her view on life made me laugh an awful lot. There were a few 'oops' and 'oh dear' moments, but generally I enjoyed her melodramatic life. I'm totally against animals wearing clothes, but I had to smile in embarrassment for what poor Basil went through. Tabitha's grandmother is as crazy as the rest of the family, each person having their own quirks to drive Tabitha potty and continue making me smile. Many times I thought Tabitha got lost in the myth of being popular, sacrificing being a good citizen for the name of looking good for other people, but I still loved watching her grow as a person. Having an alcoholic in the family is a tough situation to deal with, and Tabitha's humour helped both herself and me through the trickier parts of the story.
For another hilarious read involving animals and teen drama check out Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan by Sheila Agnew (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)