Digital version – browse, print or download
Can't see the preview?
How to print the digital edition of Books for Keeps: click on the digital edition (above) and look for the icon in the menu bar that resembles a newspaper article; this will open the edition in a PDF file - click on the printer icon in the top right of the screen to print.
Receive the latest news & reviews direct to your inbox!
'Funny, sexy and provocative,' it says here on the inside front cover (pricey too, incidentally). 'This is a first novel for older teenagers by Britain's most famous and controversial journalist.' That's Julie Burchill, right? And in a demure little pink circle on the front cover, 'WARNING: explicit content.' Tread softly, reviewer, especially if you're a male 'sadult' over 20, maybe a long way over 20, for GirlWorld is a foreign country; they do things differently there. This particular GirlWorld is Brighton, and its two poles are Preston Park High School for Girls (posh) and Ravendene Comp (bogstandard jungle). Boys are mostly out of it, and when they are briefly in, they're unknowable. Father is around (wacky Mum's high-tailed it to the Bahamas) and our heroine's perception of him changes interestingly as the plot thickens. Mostly, we're in a three-way game involving Kim (heroine, bright, uncertain, in search of an identity), Zoe (black, future Olympic sprinter, high-achieving Preston Parker) and Maria Sweet (Ravendene Drama Queen, airhead gorgeous, Sugar to you and anyone else who wants her). The story needn't trouble us too much. It's a matter of Relationships, discovering sexuality - admitting your orientation to yourself and getting to like it that way - finding out who you are and emerging from the plot a whole lot wiser and, on the whole, happier. Since we're dealing with 'one of Britain's most famous and controversial journalists', the language leaps about on the page. No argument here - it really is alive - and no compromises either. I mean, like the Mirror said, 'This woman writes the backside off her contemporaries.' It's a frenetic gossip, full of teenage angst, insights so painful they ache sweetly, right through the card from Acne to Zits. There's stuff about drugs, being black, first loving, second loving, lusting - and discovering you have to watch your loved one unable to get enough of four blokes in rapid succession on the bonnet of a red Mercedes to make you realise she's not for you. Old Seventies kidlit hands always knew that Judy Blume's Forever (the first time anyone ever did it on the page) would one day read like a New Testament parable. It's hard for oldies to come to any sane judgment about this book, or about Julie Burchill either. Call me cynical, but I couldn't help wonder about a canny journalist's exploitative pen. Sugar Rush won't seriously corrupt, it will almost certainly - accurately or not - have kids saying 'That's just how we talk/think/do stuff' and it may also open the odd window and 'let a fresh breeze into some minds. All I can do is try to give you the flavour - but then I'm not female and fifteen. Better leave it to them, shut up and listen hard to what they say about it.