It covers all the key areas of concern and potentially embarrassing questions of adolescence for girls; periods, boobs and bras, hair (both the kind you want and the kind you’d rather get rid of), spots, clothes, crushes, safe sex, bullying and most importantly having the confidence to be yourself.
It doesn’t shy away from the fact that teenage girls can be pretty mean to one another and peer pressure is a real thing that will have to be dealt with at some point. There’s a great section inspired by one of Hayley’s focus group who responded that girls were bitches, where she goes on to say how girls are much more like cats than dogs. Then there’s all the different types of cats you can be, complete with Gemma Correll’s illustrations of said cats.
Whilst there’s an element of entertainment value for any age, I think it’s most valuable to pre-teens and younger teens. When it comes to sex, drugs and alcohol, it’s about setting a good example. It doesn’t go into much detail about to do if things go wrong. There’s a tiny bit on the morning after pill and abortion, but nothing on sexual abuse or rape. It stops at telling girls if he pushes the subject, then he’s not worth dating. Good advice, but for older teens seeking guidance, it might come across as a bit I told you so.
I really wanted to be able to recommend this book to single fathers but there are occasions when instead of giving information, Hayley just says “ask your mum”. That’s not helpful to girls who are referring to this book because they don’t have a trusted older female in their life. Would it be so hard to have a little section about buying the right painkillers for your period pain rather than referring to mothers? Or is OTC medicine a taboo subject?
However it would be an excellent book to hand over to your daughter after having The Talk. There’s definitely things in there that would have cleared up some questions for me when I was that age. Of course, it’s good to encourage open discussion, but we all know it doesn’t usually happen that way.
Being a Girl is published by Hot Key Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.