The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning
Published by Atom on May 1 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Rating: 4/5 stars
My best friend was now my deadliest enemy, the one person I'd hate beyond all measure for the rest of my life . . .
Franny Barker's best friend, Alice, is the worst girlfriend in the world according to the many boys of Merrycliffe-on-Sea. She toys with them, then dumps them. But she'll never dump fashion-obsessed Franny. Nothing and no one can come between them.
Not even tousle-haired rock god, Louis Allen, who Franny's been crushing on hard. Until Alice, bored with immature boys and jealous of Franny's new college friends, sets her sights on Louis. Suddenly, best friends are bitter rivals.
Is winning Louis's heart worth more than their friendship? There's only one way for Franny to find out.
Sarra Manning has a gift for writing incredibly relatable characters. I have yet to dislike anything she has written, and I highly doubt I ever will. Because she writes really awesome books. The Worst Girlfriend in the World was no exception. I was so excited to read it, and I loved every moment of doing so.
I had a bad case of one-more-chapter syndrome while reading this. I picked it up around midnight one night and read nearly a quarter of it then and there, despite telling myself I’d read only one chapter or two. I was instantly drawn into Franny’s world and would happily have stayed there much longer.
Though there were moments when I desperately wanted to shake Franny and tell her to open her eyes and stop obsessing over somebody who clearly wasn’t worth her time (Louis), I completely understood her infatuation. I was exactly the same way in high school – idolizing people from afar because they intimidated me and there was nothing I feared more than rejection. For instance, I had a crush on a guy from grade nine to twelve (and beyond!) and I’m pretty sure we exchanged no more than three sentences during all that time. I mean, he was two years older and I didn’t see him as often after tenth grade, but you get the picture. So I totally related to that aspect of Franny’s life. We’re pretty much soul twins – I was obsessed with fashion (wanted to go to school to be a fashion merchandiser, not designer because I can’t draw AT ALL), had a best friend with an overbearing personality with whom I had a major falling out. The only thing I didn’t have in my high school life that Franny was blessed with is a Francis! I’m a big fan of Francis, and of the romance in this book on a whole. It wasn’t overbearing and was perfectly cute and slow burning and delightful.
Another important element of The Worst Girlfriend in the World is the titular character, Franny’s best friend Alice. Now, I can see how people could easily dislike Alice, but I just couldn’t. She was clearly so incredibly insecure and it just broke my heart. She pushed everyone away, with the exception of Franny, and when she felt that she was losing Franny she chose to push her away as well rather than let herself be vulnerable for once. I get that impulse, and I really loved Alice’s character arc. I also liked that we see both sides of Alice – we see the Alice that Franny has been best friends with since infanthood, but we also see the catty morally-unsound girl who is hated by every girl in and around her hometown. Honestly, I see Alice’s point re: other girls’ boyfriends. Maybe she takes it a little far, but her reasoning is logical.
All said, this was a really solid book. It was everything I expect of a Sarra Manning YA title, and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. Yes, so bits were a bit cheesy and far-fetched (particularly the scene in London), but I’m willing to let that slide in light of the excellent writing, dialogue, and character development. I’m particularly impressed with the way that Manning wrote Louis and Alice, as it would have been too easy to make them clichéd and awful but she chose to make them different and totally plausible.