This is the perfect book to put a smile on your face. I woke up feeling grumpy, battling an endless cold and not enough sleep. After lunch I curled up wight Flirty Dancing and now, as I type this, I am smiling. It was a quick and easy read, amusing and fun. However, don’t underestimate the book: with a light hearted tone and some whacky characters it has a lot to say about teenagers, life at senior school, friendship and bullying.
Flirty Dancing is the first book in the Ladybirds series by Jenny Mclachlan. Each book is about a teenage girl who was once part of a friendship group in primary school called the Ladybirds. Flirty Dancing is Bea’s story. It is followed by Love Bomb (Betty’s story), Sunkissed (Kat’s story) and Star Struck (Pearl’s story due out in March 2016).
Bea is in Year 9 (13/14 year olds) at school and, whist she is full of fun and lively at home, at school she is shy and quiet. Home is chaotic with her excitable three year old sister, her busy mum and her eccentric Nan. School means keeping close to her friend Kat and trying to stay invisible, especially in front of Pearl. When the school announces an upcoming dance contest, Bea would love to take part but Kat teams up with Pearl, leaving Kat on her own. To help out, her Nan arranges for her to work with a dance teacher who will arrange a dance partner for her. Bea is mortified. However, the dance partner turns out to be the gorgeous Ollie. It seems that things are looking up but Bea hasn’t counted on Pearl who wants Ollie for herself.
An enjoyable and easy read which captures the difficult world of senior school: wanting to fit in, not wanting to stand out and changing friendships. Simple things like where to sit on the school bus, which may seem trivial, are described so well that the reader can fully understand just how stressful things like this can be to teenagers. Using a lighthearted tone, the author touches on the topic of bullying: how it can slide into so many parts of your life, how so many of your peers turn away and pretend not to see what is happening, how adults can be oblivious, how damaging it can be and how damaged the bully herself may be. This is a book about girls – their strengths and weaknesses, their dreams and desires and the importance of their friendships, with boys playing a supporting role.