My name is Lottie Biggs and in three weeks time, I will be fifteen years old. At school, most people call me Lottie Not-Very-Biggs. I’ve never found this particularly funny . . . My current hair colour is Melody Deep Plum which is not as nice as Melody Forest Flame but definitely better than the dodgy custard colour I tried last week . . .
And this is my book – it’s about important things like boys and shoes and polo-neck knickers and rescuing giraffes and NOT fancying Gareth Stingecombe (even though he has manly thighs) and hanging-out with your best friend having A BLATANTLY FUNNY TIME. It is definitely not about sitting in wardrobes or having a mental disturbance of any kind!
Painfully honest and laugh-so-hard-you-forget-to-breathe funny.
I can’t quite remember when I heard about Hayley Long’s series of YA books about Lottie Biggs, though I think the conversation had something to do with Wales. The blurb on the back of the book grabbed me instantly, Lottie sounded like lots of fun and I couldn’t wait to get reading.
The book takes the form of Lottie’s English coursework – a piece of extended personal writing. She begins by writing about the general things she is doing; things that are happening at school, about the boy she fancies, how rubbish her part time job is. Slowly though the book deepens as Lottie reveals more of herself.
I really enjoyed reading about Lottie. I think she’s a really well created character, the structure of the book means you really feel like you’re getting to know her. The supporting characters are also brilliant, the girls she works with are again great teenage characters – reading about them transported me back to being a teenagers with ease.
I liked the way that the author blended the plot about being a teenager and the difficulties and angst and fun that this time contains with an exploration of mental health issues. Everything was dealt with carefully but never strayed into the territory of instructing or preaching. I think this approach would appeal to teenagers.
I really enjoyed this book and I’m thrilled there are two more books in the series, I don’t want to say goodbye to Lottie just yet!
Lottie Biggs is Not Mad is published in paperback by Macmillan Children’s Books in the UK priced £5.99