Karen Saunders, Me, Suzy P.

Templar, 2013. ISBN 978-1-84877-296-0

Suzy P. is Suzy Puttock. Her surname is just one of many problems. Suzy’s parents are cringingly embarrassing. (What fourteen year old wouldn’t cringe about a mother who yells across a crowded shop that she’s found her the perfect bumper boost bra?) Her sisters drive her mad. Amber thinks of nothing but her wedding. She obsesses about every detail, like the exact shade of lime green for her bridesmaid’s dress. Which matters to Suzy, since despite her best attempts, she’s been unable to shed the role. Harry is seven and ‘more irritating than itching powder in your pants’. Then there’s her boyfriend. She and Danny have known each other forever, and only gone out with each other. He’s best friends with Suzy’s best friend, but while Jamie showers Millie with attention, for Danny public shows of affection are anathema. What’s more, there’s nothing he likes better than watching his favourite Star Wars film over and over. Suzy’s finding it hard to escape the fear that their relationship is lacking something.

Suzy attracts disaster in spectacular fashion. Zach enters her life at a particularly ignominious moment. Slithering spectacularly onto the school football pitch in inappropriate shoes, she tries to break her fall by holding on to the first thing that comes to hand, which happens to be the star player’s shorts. As she descends to the ground, so do they. Zach is gorgeous, and Suzy is increasingly drawn to him, and increasingly torn about Danny. Nothing prepares her though for her despair when he dumps her, especially as it’s for the loathsome but beautiful Jade. Still, now the way is open for her to go out with Zach. Summoning all her courage, she asks him out. Somehow, their dates never go quite right, but there are always reasons, like the fact that she’s coated her face in green eye shadow to hide her spots. But what if he really isn’t very interesting?

Saunders understands teenage girls and their concerns well. Suzy is a delightful creation, and the dialogue is excellent. The book is packed with humour. It will be a big hit with girls of eleven to fourteen.