The St. Jude's girls are back, and getting up to mischief. Smuggling contraband, playing pranks and having full-blown food fights in their party frocks... and that's just the start of it. For one of the gang, there's also a new temptation of the handsome, Scottish variety. But amidst the shenanigans, all four girls have major life lessons to learn...
I got hooked on Carmen Reid's Secrets at St Jude's earlier this year after reading Drama Girl, the third book in this super-fun series. So, I picked up new instalment Rebel Girl looking forward to more of the same - and I wasn't disappointed.
This time around, Niffy suffers a double-strength hair trauma after getting her locks chopped short on a whim... and then letting her pals try out their home-highlighting skills on her. Is there any teenage girl who can't relate to that tale of beauty woe? I doubt it. In contrast, there's a topical storyline for Amy, who is forced to trade shopping sprees for a Saturday job after her dad's nightclub empire crumbles around his ears. Then there's Min's exam stress, Gina's relationship worries and even a surprisingly poignant storyline for killjoy housemistress Mrs Knebworth. In fact, I found myself warming to The Neb in Rebel Girl - we learn a little more about her, and she actually shows a different side to her personality.
The St. Jude's series is set in an exclusive Scottish boarding school, but somehow Carmen Reid makes her four main characters seem really down-to-earth and easy to relate to. They all have their insecurities, and none of them has what you'd call a perfect life, but what they do have is an awesome friendship. These girls look out for each other, they stick together, and they have a blast. Still, Rebel Girl is sprinkled with just enough designer dresses, cute love interests and snogging to remind us that we're firmly in YA chicklit territory here. The highlight of this instalment has to be the relationship dramas between Gina and Dermot. I don't want to give too much away, but what I will say is that there's a shocking development and some nailbiting moments for fans of the St Jude's golden couple.
Secrets at St Jude's has all the elements of a classic YA series. There's fun, romance and even a touch of glamour. And like any great YA series, there's also an ensemble cast of very different characters for readers to pick a favourite from. I'd recommend Rebel Girl to anyone looking for a light-hearted, girly read with a healthy helping of teen drama.
Out: May 27th 2010, UK
Thank you to Random House / Corgi for providing a review copy of Rebel Girl.