Bea has a seriously boring life. She lives to get good grades and to work her part time job every Saturday where the uniform is even plainer than she is. When the cool girls at school start paying her more attention than they ever have before, Bea should be more curious than she actually is. Instead, Bea makes the most of being with the ‘in’ crowd and what they can offer her. When they tell Bea that they want her to come on an all girls holiday to Spain, she jumps at the chance, once her mum finally agrees.
Less than 2 days into their holiday, Bea realises that everything was not exactly as it seems and she finds herself on a train to Paris to track down her father who she has never met. On the way, a group of American students backpacking their way around Europe help her out and take her with them on the kind of holiday she should have had in the first place. Amongst her new friends is Toph, the older guy who she can’t keep her eyes off but Bea needs to decide if she really is the plain and boring girl she was back in England or if Europe has changed her enough to make Toph like her back and to turn her into a girl ready to go back home and face the music.
What I thought
When I started reading this book, I really wasn’t sure that I was going to like it. I was actually contemplating not carrying on with it after a while but I always like to try to finish books when they have come from the publisher so I decided to stick with it for a little longer and I am damn glad I did. It took around 100 pages for this book to really get into the swing of things and to get to the parts that really mattered, the times when Bea was on her own and ready for a big adventure.
As soon as Bea leaves the mean girls, I was so much happier. Stuck, Bea comes across a group of Americans who are heading to Paris anyway and ask if she wants to go with them instead of on her own. Bea was a lovely girl, if not a bit dull to begin with, so I was happy to finally see her come out of her shell a bit more with her newfound friends and start being the girl she wanted to be. Being older, the American characters had experienced more life and did a lot more fun things so they were great for getting Bea to do more exciting things. I really enjoyed watching Bea change from being completely shy to having a great time and getting drunk in a club and dancing the night away. I was kind of a bit proud of her for standing up for herself and setting out to do something that she really wanted, all by herself.
Bea and Toph were great characters to read about together. Due to certain circumstances, they find themselves alone in Paris and decide to make the most of it even though their friendship has been far from smooth up until this point. Being the only two characters left gave Bea and Toph a lot of time to develop and for me to get to know a lot more about them and I really enjoyed discovering the little things which made them tick and also the things which made them both extremely happy, even if they were only silly little things like taking the metro instead of walking around. Their friendship was one of the best parts of this book for me and it was a lovely thing to discover for me as well as them. Yes, there is also a very slow building romance between them but it was truly perfect. There is none of this love at first sight rubbish. Bea and Toph actually spend a lot of time getting to know each other before even admitting that they like each other.
When I read this book, I had been going through a bit oh a phase of reading books set in either France in general or Paris. This was not intentional though apart from one book and it was pure chance that the publishers sent these books and that I happened to read them within the space of a month. Anyway, this was the book that inspired me to take my own trip to Paris next summer and to have myself a bit of an adventure, even if it is only for a week or two. Of all the places I have been, Paris is not one of them and now, I am dying to go and explore and all because of this book. The descriptions of the places that Bea and Toph go are wonderfully written and many of the places are now where I want to go myself. I also think I may write myself a list of rules like they did for while I’m there. If you haven’t read this book and have no idea what I’m talking about, some of the things that Bea and Toph had on their list was:
Take pictures of everything…preferably in black and white
Make the most of Paris at night
No eating in places where the signs aren’t in French
I know these may sound a little bit silly, but I think it will be quite fun to have a check list for my adventure and to see how many of the things I actually do.
Sarra Manning’s writing is impeccable so there is no wonder that she is dubbed the Queen of Teen. She knows exactly how to write teenage characters and has their mannerisms, speech and thoughts down perfectly. After reading Nobody’s Girl, I immediately added every other book she has ever written in the YA genre to my wish list and cannot wait to get around to buying them. Manning is definitely a new favourite author of mine and I completely and utterly loved this book!
With a big thanks to the publisher, we are giving away a copy of Nobody's Girl to one lucky winner. All you need to do is fill in the form below by 3rd August when we will be picking a winner at random. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before we will pick another winner. Giveaway is UK only unfortunately. Good luck!