Teen Space - Book Review

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Young Adult book review: Bad Girls by Jacqueline Wilson

Bad Girls. Jacqueline Wilson
Nick Sharratt (Illustrations)

Mandy is a nice quiet kid with a lovely family who should be enjoying life, but isn't thanks to the 'bad girls' who make her life a misery at school. The nasty trio of Kim, Melanie and Sarah take great joy in teasing her about the way she looks, her clothes, her older parents, anything they can poke a finger at. Even worse is that Melanie use to be her best friend, but she dumped Mandy for the ringleader Kim and is now bullying her too.

Fortunately, life changes for the better when Mandy befriends the cool 'tough' older girl Tanya who is being fostered by Mandy's neighbour. Rough and precocious, Tanya is fun and confident and though her parents don't approve of her, Mandy sees the kind loyal person Tanya really is. As their friendship grows so does Mandy's confidence. 

Mandy is distraught when things go bad and Tanya is moved to another foster home, for reasons you'll need to read and find out about yourself. She knows what Tanya did was wrong, but she is not the 'bad girl' that people have labelled her. The real 'bad girls' are the three bullies who are from 'good homes' and have everything Tanya never did. 

There are some great moments as Mandy stands up to school and overbearing mother pressure, and, a fantastic new teacher delivers a class discussion that changes everything for the good. But what I really liked about the whole story was that Mandy refused to give up Tanya as her best friend, and that takes true grit. A great read for young people who don't want stories about fairies and horses or dragons, and love the goodies triumphing over the baddies!