Author: Rae Earl
Release date: February 7th 2013
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: contemporary, Middle Grade
Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Middle Grade books seem to be falling straight into my lap lately, but I’m not complaining, not yet. OMG! Is This Actually My Life? caught me completely off guard. I can’t remember the last time I laughed myself into stitches.
Fourteen-year-old Hattie Moore is just like every other fourteen-year-old girl on the planet. She worries about boys, school and friends, obsesses about the changes on her body, worries about her braces and her “jaws of death”, hates her older sibling and despises the most popular girl in school. But on top of all that, Hattie doesn’t know her real father, she doesn’t even know his name, and she dreams he’ll show up one day to solve all her problems. Like every other girl in the history of girls, Hattie pines for a boy she barely even knows and fails to see what’s right in front of her. She is an extremely relatable character.
Just done my weekly tit test in front of the mirror. When I jump up and down they STILL don't move. Goodnight, breasts. Please grow a bit overnight so I can bounce to school.*
OMG! is a diary novel that reminded me, in some ways, of Adrian Mole (whom I adored while growing up) and Bridget Jones (whom I never particularly liked). It wasn’t just the format that made me think of Adrian and Bridget, it was the combination of that, the fabulous British humor and some character traits Hattie shared with one or the other. Although OMG! was an endless source of hilarity, I really liked that Earl found a way to push some seriousness between the lines, mostly through Hattie’s non-existent relationship with her father, and her tense and resentful relationship with her mother. Those things were, of course, wrapped up in her great sense of humor, but they were there to give the readers something to think about.
OMG! has an array of colorful characters. Hattie’s two best friends, Weirdo Jen and Dimple, are both very supportive, each in her own way. Her grandmother insists on texting dirty jokes to everyone, including her dentist, and asks for a ‘Britain’s Hottest Firemen’ calendar each Christmas. Her archenemy is the prettiest and meanest girl in school, Ruby aka Miss Gorgeous Knickers. There is, of course, McFittie, a server in Bertie’s, whom Hattie never really spoke to (other than him offering her a biscotti), but whom she’s desperately in love with nevertheless. And last, but not least, there’s Goose, Hattie’s first neighbor, her oldest and most supportive male friend and an all around awesome guy who spends time with her stepfather and cheers her up when things go terribly wrong.
Dimple is UBER gorgeous. In fact, I’m a bit annoyed her parents aren’t arranging her marriage because it means she’s shopping in the snog supermarket at the same time as me. ”Love IS a battlefield” – so one of my mum’s CDs says.*
What stopped me from fully enjoying Hattie’s diary was her excessive use of caps. They served a purpose, of course, they reflected Hattie’s flair for the dramatic, but the overall effect was a bit jarring. I’m not sure younger readers would feel the same, though, so please don’t take my word for it. I really think this book is an excellent choice for younger teens and more patient adults.
*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof.