Lily is named by her ‘bonkers’ mother after a flower, as is her annoying older sister, Poppy. Well, at least she wasn’t saddled with the name of a herb, like her baby brother, Bay. But there are plenty of other annoyances in her well-heeled life: Dad’s baled out to live with his secretary; Mum’s even loopier now she’s fallen for the local cafe-waiter, Adrien, and dreamy Billy next door has unaccountably fallen for Amanda in Year 10.
Lily is faced with an entire summer holiday incarcerated with her crazy family, while her best friend, Bea, has deserted her for the States. Life can’t get any worse, until one too many sulks mean that her warring parents briefly unite to send her to CampHappy in the Lake District to improve her attitude. Lily is determined to hate the camp, but spiky Maya proves an unexpected ally in the face of perfectly groomed Izzy, and all CampHappy can unleash in the way of Healthy Exercise. Lily even comes to enjoy some of the physical challenges. And with at least two potential boyfriends in the boys’ dorms, life is looking up.
French for Kissing is a frothy read for young teens, which fizzes with energy, bad puns and teen attitude, relayed through Lily’s diary entries and emails to and from family and friends. Lily’s love of colloquial French gives an original flavour to the story, which comes complete with a humorous glossary. The chick-lit formula is underpinned with a lightly disguised message about growing up and not taking others – or yourself – too much for granted.