Tallulah has travelled to the wilds of the North to attend a performing arts college for the summer. Her grand plans of boys, shopping and stardom, however, are dented a little when she finds herself in a tiny village in the Yorkshire Dales with no Boots, but plenty of sheep and curious locals. Her teachers at Dother Hall are less-than-awed by her singing, dancing, acting and artistic skills, but at least she’s making friends. And, even in the country, there is always the possibility of a first snog to be had…
If you’re familiar with Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson series, you won’t find anything very surprising in Withering Tights. Rennison has a new protagonist, in a new location, but the style of her new series is very much in keeping with her last. Fans are unlikely to be alienated by the changes but, on the other hand, after ten Georgia books, they are also unlikely to be very excited by more of the same.
Tallulah Casey is certainly a protagonist of the Georgia Nicolson ilk. Clever, witty and attractive, she is also awkward and insecure about her looks. Like many fourteen-year-old girls, her key focus in life is boys – or, more accurately, the quest to snag her very first snog. However, her too-long legs and distinct lack of corkers (that’s breasts, for the uninitiated) seem to present the greatest obstacle to her goal.
As with Georgia (and her nose issues), Tallulah’s body image is distinctly flawed, as becomes apparent once she begins to attract the attention of the local boys. Such authentic depiction of teenage insecurities and the inaccurate self-image that accompanies them is one of the greatest strengths of Rennison’s work. Her teenage girls always read like teenage girls.
Tallulah is surrounded by a cast of similarly amusing characters, from the dry-witted local girl Ruby to the short-but-tough Jo. As can be expected from Rennison, there are also plenty of potential love-interests for Tallulah, some more ill-advised than others. Readers are sure to find at least one possible suitor to support!
My difficulty with Withering Tights lies in its similarity to Rennison’s past work. While reading, I often found myself equating characters with counterparts in the Georgia Nicolson books. For many, the similarities between this new series and Rennison’s first one would be considered a positive. However, after reading all of the Georgia books, I was ready for something new.
Despite its lack of originality, Withering Tights is nonetheless an entertaining read. Rennison is a master of the silly and the absurd and her latest offering provides all the fun and foolishness that her fans have grown to expect.