Being a girl by Hayley Long

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Ill. by Gemma Correll. Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN: 9781471403903
(Reading Ages: 12 -13+) Highly recommended. Parental discretion, may be needed as some of the content requires the reader to be emotionally mature. Subjects: Health, Puberty, Adolescents, Girls, Life Skills, Personal Grooming, Dating, Social Relations, Psychology. Author Hayley Long has read the entire internet and gathered everything you need to know about being a girl. She celebrates life, she encourages the sisterhood with a really open and insightful dialogue. Nothing is off limits, she tackles a plethora of topics with humour, insight and honesty. Gender identity, including being transgender is presented with comments, questions and opportunities to fill in fun quizzes - are you any good at being a girl? Herstory includes discussion on gender inequality, being transgender, the Suffragette Movement, sexism and introduces six women who have stamped their mark on the world.
Each chapter explores another social, emotional or physical issue. Raging hormones and the cattiness of a high school classroom, turns into a table of cats - cattiness combined with Gemma Correll's witty cat sketches. There's Top Cat, Scally Cats right down to Strays and the girl who tries to be invisible - Cat Food. Bloody Periods are the most realistic chapter covering everything a girl needs to know. Crushes, friendships and dating, health and hygiene are explored and the reader is treated as a friend without being talked down to or given too much irrelevant information. This is an important contemporary book written with sincerity and sensitivity. Hayley Long's text with her honest and open comments, combined with the use of bold texts, different fonts, diagrams, tables, cartoons make this a socially relevant book, just right for girls on the brink of adolescence.
Rhyllis Bignell