GIRL, 15, CHARMING BUT INSANE
Hooray for British import Limb! In Jess Jordan, she creates an utterly hilarious teen who tries really hard to get it all right but only ends up messing things up even more.
Jess is just trying to deal: with her small breasts, her disgustingly gorgeous and goddess-like best friend and her lust for a boy who looks exactly like Brad Pitt. Unfortunately, there's an incident with minestrone and a hidden camera (from which her best friend Flora emerges unscathed). Meanwhile, Jess's granny comes to live with her and her mom, Jess tries to figure out why her parents divorced and why her good friend, Fred, is acting so aloof, all while she plots to become a famous stand-up comedienne.
This is the freshest voice in young adult literature in a long while. Jess is utterly original, and the writing is fast-paced and spot-on. A sequel is planned for 2005, and the ending leaves a few nice cliffhangers to cling to. (Aug., 224 pp., $15.95)