The Boys' School Girls: Tara's Sister Trouble Paperback – 3 Jul 2014
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'Compelling ... full of neat twists' Chicklish.co.uk. (Chicklish.co.uk)
'Very funny ... realistic and scarily relatable' Wondrous Reads. (Wondrous Reads)
'A warm and funny story about friends, family and growing up' Guardian. (Guardian)
Hillcrest High Boys' School is admitting girls for the first time, and Tara couldn't be more excited! But the Hillcrest boys don't make life easy. And with only ten girls in the year, they're going to have to stick together to survive. Boys against girls? Bring. It. On.See all Product description
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Tara has a sister, one who is only 11 months older than her, but thankfully attends a different school. Tara’s world comes crashing down when it is revealed that Maxie (her sister) is going to be attending Hillcrest along with Tara as she has been expelled from her school for gifted children.
This story is about friendship and family. Throughout the story many issues are covered and at times I felt the girls have behaved very maturely as they are only 11 going on 12. I feel this is a good beginning of a series and will appeal to many, those who are feeling isolated and alone will also benefit from reading this. I remember falling out with friends when I was this age and felt the whole world was against me. This book would have helped me realise this is a normal thing, and many go through feeling this at some point.
As an older reader I was quite surprised, sometimes when reading a middle grade book I get a little annoyed or cross as the level of immaturity irritates me. I didn’t feel this while reading it. Tara came across as quite a feisty girl but one who cared about her family and friends. While Maxie was not likable at the beginning, however my opinion of her changed towards the end. The other characters are a little 1 dimensional; this I feel is because there are so many of them in the book and you as a reader never really get to know them well.
The book was read in one sitting, it is an easy read which passed the time well. There is not a lot of substance to it, so if you are looking for something meaty this may not be for you. However I believe this has captured the target audience and will do very well. The book does open your eyes to what is important in life and perhaps what the girls think is important to begin with actually isn’t. This is something though that I feel a lot of girls entering teenage years feel and at the age the girls are this is not uncommon.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.
In Tara's Sister Trouble, Tara discovers that Hillcrest High Boys' School is now letting girls attend for the first time ever. Tara is beyond excited (who wouldn't be?!), until she finds out that her perfect sister Maxi will be going too. How will Tara survive at a boys' school AND compete with her sister? Hold onto your desks, because this is sibling rivalry at its best!
I liked everything about this book, from the characters to the school setting. There's all sorts of high jinks going on, from the boys and girls, and it's fun to read about what happens when they suddenly find themselves thrown together in an organised fashion. Tensions are high, hormones are running wild and mean girls are on the loose. Honestly, it's your typical co-ed high school if you can imagine a massive amount of boys and only ten girls.
A lot happens in The Boys' School Girls, mainly to do with friendships and family, and how people close to us are not to be taken for granted. Lil Chase knows exactly what teenagers are like, what makes them tick and how they think, and it shines through on every page. Reading this book made me think I was back in secondary school with the clubs and gangs that separated us all from each other, and being back at school isn't a place I'd ever like to be. I think I'll stick to reading brilliant books like this, thank you very much!
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Tara's Sister Trouble is not centered merely on the woes of sibling rivalry. There's a lot more to Tara's world. Soon after transferring to Hillcrest High Boys' School to follow her crush Reece, Tara finds herself caught up in a huge drama when a charity fundraiser turns into a competition that pits the ten girls of Year Eight against each other. That's what happens when you offer tickets to an amusement park to the ones that raise the most money.
Frankly, there's not much to Tara's character. She's bullheaded, easily jumps to conclusions, and has a fiercely competitive spirit. There doesn't seem to be much in her mind other than Reece and winning the fundraising competition. The other characters aren't fleshed out well enough to warrant much comment on them except that there are a lot of clichés going on. Nevertheless, the clichés do work for this book. Humor, drama, and lightheartedness is what you expect when you plop a group of girls into a traditionally all-boys school. And Tara's not a bad protagonist for this kind of story.
Just don't expect a lot of substance going into this book. The story skips forward in time a lot, and we hear about a lot of developments AFTER they happen, which was frustrating. First, I never really felt like I got a good handle on the story and what it was about. Second, it makes it hard to get to know the characters, as we don't get to follow them through the events that transpire. We only to get hear them talk about things that happen and what they plan to do in response.
One things I... I did forget that this was an MG novel. While we're told that Tara is twelve, her fellow members of Year Eight act similar to high schoolers. The girls are interested in boys, the boys are interested in girls, and they throw parties. There's also snobbery and bullying. Maybe I'm underestimating middle-school students, but I would have expected things to be a little more tame.
Overall, this book gave me an entertaining morning as I followed the drama of youth. As tweens enterting adolescent, the girls often focus on the competition they perceive as a threat and forget about the more important things in life, and it takes them a while to realize what truly matters. And it's beautiful to see them reflect over their behavior and make up in the end. I recommend this book for those looking for some fun, light summer reading. If you're looking for more substance and less clichés, however, I would pass on this one.