Harper Collins, 2005 (2004)
(US title: Away Laughing On A Fast Camel)
The Sex God has left the country, taking Georgia's heart with him. So she decides to display glaciosity to all boys - a girl can only have her heart broken so many times.
Until she meets Masimo, the new singer for the Stiff Dylans. The Sex God is gone, but here comes the Dreamboat, and Georgia's away laughing on a fast camel (whatever that means).
I read the first two or three Georgia Nicolson books around the time they were first released - I think I was about 15 when the first one, Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, came out. A while ago, Mandee at VeganYANerds asked me to recommend some British YA, and this was the series that immediately came to mind. Around the same time, I found this title in a charity shop for less than a quid, so I picked it up and stashed it on my bookshelf. This weekend, in search of a fast, funny read, I picked it up and sped through it in the space of an afternoon.
Georgia and her friends (The Ace Gang) are at secondary school in England (although I don't think it's ever stated, the town that is depicted in the books appears to be Brighton - they mention the clock tower, Churchill Square and the Odeon cinema in this one). While Jas (and her fringe) is all loved up with Hunky Tom, and Rosie is eagerly anticipating the return of her boyfriend Sven, Georgia is heartbroken after Robbie (the Sex God) has moved away to New Zealand (or Kiwi-a-go-go-land, as Georgia calls it). Unfortunately, Georgia's boy problems don't stop there - there's Dave the Laugh, sometime friend and font of all boy knowledge, and sometime snogging partner; Mark Big Gob, a less desirable specimen of boy; and Masimo, the gorgeous, Italian singer who has replaced Robbie in the Stiff Dylans. Throw in the mad antics of the Ace Gang, their humourless teachers at Stalag 14, and the ever-unwelcome sight of Wet Lindsay and her crew, not to mention Georgia's crazy family, and it isn't the best of times for Georgia.
These books are very funny. Georgia and her friends are more likely to be acting silly than sophisticated, and despite the fact that they all seem to be constantly agonising over boys, they manage to (more or less) watch out for each other at the same time. Georgia's family - Mutti, Vati, her little sister Libby and their slightly unhinged cats, Angus and Gordon - are all a little bit crazy, but in a believable way, where their activities are all exaggerated through Georgia's teenage eyes. One thing that I always liked about this series is the presence of Georgia's parents and sister, which provides both a realistic home life for a teenage protagonist (Georgia has a curfew and parents who think nothing of walking into her room and quizzing about her about where she's going and who she's with) and a sense of endless embarrassment for Georgia.
As are all the books in this series, they are told in diary form, with lots of slang and made up words for which there is a glossary at the back (as Georgia states, provided for readers in "Hamburger-a-go-go-land" - the US). Georgia is an incredibly likable protagonist - she doesn't always do the right thing, but her heart is in the right place, and most of the time she's just perpetually confused by everything going on around her, especially boys (and her Vati's insistence on buying a "clown car" and dressing up as Legolas). There were a few instances where this book made me laugh out loud, and Louise Rennison has a hilarious way of writing Georgia that makes these books fast and funny reads without taking away from the real-life traumas of being a teenage girl.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
Book source: Bought from Oxfam Books, Kings Heath.