From the author of the popular British series Confessions of Georgia Nicholson, the first of which, Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, was made into a movie in 2008, Withering Tights is about 14-year-old Tallulah Casey, who happens to be Georgia’s cousin; but she’s very much her own character. Tallulah is shedding her ordinary life and heading to a summer program at Dother Hall, a Yorkshire performing arts college. She’s prepared for glamour and excitement, but nothing could have prepared her for what she finds: a never-ending onslaught of baffling circumstances, and a bizarre cast of characters, including but not limited to a posse of new mildly insane friends who dub themselves the Tree Sisters (because of their tradition of dancing around a tree), a zealous host family that is excessively fond of arts-and-crafts projects, an instructor who seems to be out to get her from the start, and the Hinchcliff brothers, who are clearly rotten to the core– and pursued by every female in the town. Thankfully for Tallulah’s survival, she’s more than a little eccentric herself; and her spontaneous Irish-dancing skills are sure to help her get through it all. But will she be able to prove herself as an actress and be chosen to stay on at the school after the summer ends?
God, I love this book, as much as I love the Georgia Nicholson books. There is no competition for Louise Rennison at her own game, which is creating larger-than-life characters and sending them on joyfully ridiculous adventures. Withering Tights is pure fun. Reading it is kind of like watching Saturday Night Live. You can just relax and be entertained from start to finish.
Tallulah is a very loveable character; I want her to be my best friend. She is flawed, and very relatable, but also has admirable character. She stays optimistic and positive through whatever comes her way and approaches hardships with a sense of humor, and she tries to be truly kind to people. Her friends are enjoyably sarcastic and snarky, and yet at the same time, they are completely loyal to each other. And the plot is a never-ending rollercoaster of tomfoolery that you couldn’t have dreamed up if given a year to do it. As Tallulah might say, it’s simply brill. Oh yeah, that’s another thing– if you’re from the States like me, you’ll love all the British slang, and your thoughts might be in a British accent for the rest of the day. There’s supposed to be a third book, but no news yet.
I’m going to cheat a little and give this one a squee for the combination of itself and its sequel, Midsummer Tights’ Dream. The romance is good in Withering Tights, but by the second book, things started getting seriously squee. I won’t divulge any details, but it was at times spicy and at times adorable. The Tights series, as a whole, definitely merits a squee. P.S., Louise Rennison is the only author I’ve ever read that you honestly don’t know what guy the girl is going to end up with! It’s actually up in the air. So props for that.
This book absolutely gets a ROFL. The jokes are constant and I laughed out loud frequently. Louise Rennison has worked as a comedian outside of her writing, and she knows how to be funny. At least according to my sense of humor.