Kate Stone

Kate Stone

Pretty Rude: Book Review

Having begun to pursue her dream of becoming a stand-up comedian in Pretty Funny, author Rebecca Elliott has brought teen comedy queen Haylah Swinton back for a second instalment in Pretty Rude and this time Haylah’s taking her comedy to the internet, where we all know there are no consequences…

Like a quickfire comedian or an excitable teenager, Haylah narrates her story at a fast pace. If you didn’t read the first book Pretty Funny then you better get thee to a library (or bookshop… or this review) because Haylah does not care to do a roundup. She is too busy with her BFFs Chloe and Kas and her new boyfriend Dylan.

Only, is Dylan her boyfriend? Haylah’s old insecurities about her looks are sparked back into action by Dylan’s apparent disinterest in her physically. Elliott captures perfectly the horrendously awkward yet totally normal situations you can get into as a teenager. All of which could be solved with a quick text, but that is not how it works when you’re 15.

But Dylan isn’t the only man in Haylah’s life, her previously absent father suddenly makes his presence known and suddenly Haylah finds herself trying to balance her protective instincts towards her mother and her discovery that her dad might not be the villain she always believed him to be.

Without making her lead character unlikeable or shoehorning in any Oprah A-ha moments, Elliott manages to hint at the solopsism of teenhood and how it clashes with the new responsibilies and emotional expectations that come with growing up.

In fact, aside from Haylah’s mum’s boyfriend Ruben who is an absolute saint, there are no martyrs in this book. Adults and teens make poor decisions that collide with later actions. Annoyingly, this is what real life is like. Happily, this is probably what makes Pretty Rude a book that should appeal to teenagers today.

If you were a fan of Jacqueline Wilson’s Girls series but need something a bit more up to date for the teenager in your life, get them Pretty Funny and Pretty Rude.

Pretty Rude by Rebecca Elliott will be available under the Penguin imprint in paperback, ebook and audiobook from Thursday, 15th April 2021.

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