British media is really the best, because it has something to offer almost everyone. Love all things Austen? You probably love Downton Abbey! Obsessed with mysteries
(and Benedict Cumberbatch)? Sherlock! Wacky, galaxy-hopping fantasy adventure? You must be a Doctor Who fan. But my personal favorite Anglo import has to be the British comedy.
I’m not sure what, exactly, about British comedy makes it so particularly appealing, but I’ve loved it ever since PBS started airing classics like Are You Being Served and Vicar of Dibley waaaaay back in the day. The Brit Com seems to have cornered the market on ridiculously embarrassing antics from endearingly witty oddballs, and something it about it speaks to me (as to what that says about me…well, we’ll leave that to speculation). But while Brit Coms on TV don’t seem to have the same resonance with teens as Doctor Who and Sherlock, there is one area where they dominate: YA books.
A perfect example? The snarky, irreverent Georgia Nicolson from Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging (2001 Printz Honor book and first of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson books by Louise Rennison). When you first meet Georgia, she’s just accidentally shaved off one eyebrow (whoops!) and is working on ways to make that look, you know, work. Her fab lingo is just as delightful as her wry observations – I called my school “Stalag 14” all the way through high school – and no matter how you slice it, she remains one of my all-time favorite voices in, er, literature.
If you loved Angus – or if you’re just looking for a fall-off-your-chair laugh – you’ll find these three charmingly bonkers British books for teens absolutely fabulous.
Geek Girl by Holly Smale features a Georgia Nicolson for a new generation. When self-proclaimed geek Harriet Manners is spotted by a top modelling agency, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself. Clumsy (no, like, seriously clumsy – on a runway, and in spike heels, no less) and hopelessly, hilariously awkward in her attempts to conceal her new career from her stepmom and best friend, Geek Girl is the perfect combination of humor and the warm fuzzies.
In Boys Don’t Knit (in Public) by T. S. Easton, chronic worrier and rule-follower Ben Fletcher must attend a community college class as part of his probation for his first-ever brush with the law. Ben signs up for knitting, thinking it’s taught by his favorite (pretty) teacher; it’s not, but as it turns out, Ben is a natural born knitter. He’s great at creating new patterns, but explaining his new-found calling to his football-loving dad is an entirely different matter. Written in diary form, this book is delightfully kooky.
In what is surely the best title I’ve come across this year, Half My Facebook Friends Are Ferrets by J. A. Buckle is another diary-style charmer. Sixteen-year-old Josh is pretty sure he could be a major metalhead if he could just convince his mom to let him skip a haircut or two. And maybe let him buy a real guitar. Adorably awkward around girls and suffering some hilarious restrictions from a conservative mom, Josh can’t seem to catch a break and become the rockstar he knows he could be.
If you’re looking for a book full of laughs, check out these gems.
-Savannah Kitchens, currently reading Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman