Back at school, it seems as though four girls' friendship will never be the same again...
Think Scottish boarding school, and you're probably thinking musty old corridors, jolly hockeysticks, and no cute boys for miles around. And maybe you'd be right. But think Carmen Reid's St Jude's, and it's an entirely different story. Sneaking out, going to parties, cute boys everywhere... We're a long way from Malory Towers.
I haven't read a Secrets at St Jude's book before, so I was thrilled to find one-page profiles for each of the main characters at the front of this one - making it easy peasy to work out who everyone is and just jump right in. Gina is our MC - a California girl with a penchant for Prada and understandable hatred for the gross St Jude's uniform. Niffy is your classic horsey aristo with a love for school puddings. Then there's Min (short for Asimina) who is super-smart and a little shy, and finally Amy, a Glaswegian lass who secretly wants to be an actress. They're all very different, but put them together and they're an awesome team. Well... that's the idea. Except that in this book, the four girls find their friendship in jeopardy - and it's all over a boy. Disaster!
I was expecting Drama Girl to be fun, and it's definitely that. It's the kind of easy read that's easy to escape into for an afternoon: cute, fluffy, and girly with a capital G. But that's not all it is. The girls' feelings about their respective crushes are believable and easy to relate to without being mushy - my favourite was Min's musings on how a girl gets from awkward-first-kiss-land to having a proper boyfriend she can really feel comfortable with. Carmen Reid also touches on more serious ground when Amy's insecurities about her appearance trigger some dangerous behaviour. It's still a light-hearted read, but there's substance too. It's about friendship, negotiating the unknown territory of first relationships, and the importance of looking after each other. And of course, it's wicked fun. If you like YA chicklit, you'll love Secrets at St Jude's.
Out: 4th February 2010, UK, Corgi
Many thanks to Random House UK for providing me with a review copy.