K.E. Payne, 2011. This hilarious novel consists of a series of daily diary entries by Clementine, an English teenager who’s funny in the style of Adrian Mole and Georgia Nicolson. Why do the British do teen diaries so much better than Americans? I mean, I love The Princess Diaries as much as anyone, but Clem is just funnier than Mia.
So for the first half of the book, Clem is coming to terms with her sexuality – dating a boy, crushing on girls, etc. In the second half, she’s secretly dating the gorgeous emo kid Hannah, with corresponding sex and drama. But Clem’s diary is never one-track. While Hannah is clearly the center of Clem’s life – as most relationships are to most teens – there’s plenty in there about Clem’s parents, her annoying sister, her dog, her teachers, and her friends. Clem is well-rounded, is what I’m trying to say.
The lack of predictability was refreshing as well. Yeah, the reader knows Hannah’s crushing on Clem long before Clem does, but in my experience that’s pretty much called high school. Also, I really didn’t know whether Hannah and Clem were going to be together at the end of the book. I didn’t think they would be, actually, but I was wrong, and delighted to be.
Another interesting feature of this book is that it is modern and realistic, yet it’s neither a problem novel nor a gaytopia. Clem is so comfortable in her sexuality that there’s no problem for her to overcome, but since her family and most of her friends have no idea she’s with a girl, it isn’t exactly a lesbo utopia either. At the end of the book, Clem and Hannah are still madly in love, but no one knows yet. Please, K.E. Payne, write a sequel, would you?