Review: Flirty Dancing (The Ladybirds #1) by Jenny McLachlan


Flirty Dancing
Series:  The Ladybirds #1
Author: Jenny McLachlan
Published July 3rd 2014 by Bloomsbury Children's

Goodreads Synopsis
Bea Hogg is shy but fiery inside. When national dance competition Starwars comes to her school looking for talent, she wants to sign up. It's just a shame her best friend agreed to enter with school super-cow Pearl Harris. Bea will fight back! But when school hottie, Ollie Matthews, who also happens to be Pearl’s boyfriend, decides to enter the competition with Bea, she will have more than a fight on her hands.

This warm, nuanced, hilarious story about friendship, fortitude . . . and dancing is impossible not to fall in love with. Jenny’s voice is fresh and convincing, and she handles both darker and lighter elements of the story with equal panache.

I've had my eye on this series for some time now, and seeing as I've been approved for an ARC of book 3, this was the perfect time to read it.

Flirty Dancing was a really quick and easy read. With my e-book being only 180 pages, it seemed to fly through. The book was fun, and a little cheesy - the perfect story to read when jet lagged and in the mood for some fluff.

Our main character was Bea, a 14 year old from Brighton, who faces the same challenges most teenagers do. She's dealing with school, with her friends - and enemies, and struggling with her body image. I really connected with her, as I could definitely understand some of the feelings she had throughout the book. This was undoubtedly helped by the fact it was UKYA, so I understood the slang and colloquialisms used.

The background of the series, that all four girls were friends called The Ladybirds, seems very promising. I can't wait to read further books to see exactly how Bea, Kat, Betty, and Pearl fell out, and hopefully, to see them become friends again. Betty was a wonderful character, and I'm glad that Love Bomb is from her perspective.

Bea and Ollie's romance was cute and fluffy, and perfect for a quick contemporary read. I loved seeing Bea's first crush/love pan out, especially as it started from friendship. Their dancing as the Jive Monkey's seemed very real, and almost as if I was actually watching them perform - McLachlan did an excellent job with this!

Even the background characters were enjoyable. I loved Bea's baby sister, Emma - she really reminded me of Libby from the Georgia Nicolson series. She was very funny and helped to lighten the mood at times. Also, Bea's nan was so influential in the book. Because of her, Bea came out of her shell and thrived. Bea's whole dancing career with Ollie was due to her nan's input. She  no longer put up with the bullying she suffered, and became more body positive as a result. This is a really important message for teenagers today, and I loved how it was addressed.

Even though Flirty Dancing was a quick read, that by no means was at the detriment of the story. I feel as though everything that needed to happen, happened, and anything that perhaps hadn't, will be covered in the companion books. I'm definitely going to continue with this series, and am so glad I have an advance copy of Sunkissed.

Dates Read:
June 26 to 27, 2015

4 Stars 

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