Genre: teen lit
The It Girl: (1) The It Girl
New girl Anna Huntley has but a few aims in life: re-enact the ‘lift’ scene from the Lion King with her pet Labrador, Dog; not set Deputy Queen Bee Josie’s hair on fire, again; keep her two new best friends by not doing anything socially inept, and; manoeuver her way around as Britain’s newest It Girl. Anna is catapulted into the national spotlight when her father announces his engagement to the famous actress, Helena Montaine. Helena’s daughter, Marianne Montaine has already built up a formidable reputation as Britain’s biggest It Girl and by association, Anna is expected to follow in her footsteps – after all, everyone wants to be a famous It Girl … don’t they?
Marketed as perfect for fans of Geek Girl and Louise Rennison, Katy Birchall is a fresh new voice in ‘clean teen’ and a real must-read for middle-grade and early-teen readers this summer. The It Girl is brilliantly funny as we watch Anna and Dog muddle their way through social protocols, a new school and a new family. Anna is hilariously awkward and constantly lands herself in the most bizarre situations without warning or grace; her ineptitude literally knows no bounds. While I can definitely agree with the comparison to Louise Rennison’s own heroine Georgia Nicholson, in my opinion, The It Girl shares more than a few similarities with The Princess Diaries. Even as PD celebrates fifteen years of teen lit, Katy Birchall proves that heroines like Anna still strike a chord with a new generation of Princess Diaries readers today.
This was clearly predictable, but that was half the fun – and in some ways, Anna is just crazy enough to make the unpredictable look predictable. It was a great fluffy read and I can see why it appeals in so many international markets – there are girls like Anna (with #moveslikeanna) everywhere. Anna’s got a great set of friends in Jess, Danny, Dog and Marianne and her relationship with her parents is unconventional to say the least. Brilliantly funny and sometimes a touch outrageous, The It Girl is just one of those feel-good books that you can’t get enough of. I can’t wait to see what adventures Anna gets up to next.
Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction.