Cover image for Girl, (nearly) 16, absolute torture
Girl, (nearly) 16, absolute torture
Limb, Sue.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Delacorte Press, [2005]

Physical Description:
216 pages ; 22 cm
Jess knows her summer plans are ruined but little could she imagine the huge surprise that awaits her when she visits her dad's home for the first time in years.
Reading Level:
010 and up.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG+ 5.0 8.0 102568.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Just when things were going so well. Jess had the perfect summer planned: She and Fred, lounging in the park, gazing into one another's eyes and engaging in witty repartee. It was going to be so romantic. And then her maddening mum stepped in: She suddenly announced a two-week "road trip" to Cornwall to visit Jess's dad, something Jess might have enjoyed, actually, were it not for the monstrously bad timing. Not only will this force Jess and Fred apart for two whole weeks, it will also leave the darling and handsome Fred in the clutches of Jess's blindingly beautiful best friend, Flora--who, you might recall, expressed an interest in Fred not too long ago. As if all this weren't enough, Jess's mum seems to expect her to weep at the grave of every departed literary hero in Britain's long history. It's absolute torture. And little does Jess know, a huge surprise awaits her when she visits her dad at his home for the first time in years. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Notes

Sue Limb was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England in 1946. She attended Newnham College in Cambridge, England during the mid 60's and in 1972 became a certified teacher. She began writing in the 1980's and gave up teaching soon after. She has written a variety of books for all ages.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7-10. In the on-going tradition of Louise Rennison and her heroine, Georgia Nicholson, comes the story of Jess, who is in the first throes of love with her boyfriend Fred. Then her mother has to go and ruin it all by planning a vacation--just Jess, Mum, and Gran, motoring down to Cornwall to visit Jess' long-absent dad and throw Grandpa's ashes in the sea. Readers will have to have an affinity for the English countryside because this is as much travelogue as it is romance. Between haunted castles and quaint B & Bs, Jess spends much of her time on her mobile trying to find out if Fred is spending time with her friend Flora. Fred turns out to be true blue, and Jess' dad turns out to be gay, which is fine with Jess, but alters her plan to have her parents remarry. Fewer Briticisms than in other books of this sort help speed this light romance on to its happy ending. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2005 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Fans of Girl, 15, Charming but Insane (from PW: "Sure to leave readers in stitches, this account of a British girl's mishaps and humiliations follows a protagonist who resembles a teenage Bridget Jones") will want to see what's next for Jess Jordan in Girl, Nearly 16, Absolute Torture by Sue Limb. Jess must tear herself away from Fred to spend two weeks en route to Cornwall to see her Dad. Will beautiful Flora take Fred away in her absence? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-A thoroughly welcome, laugh-out-loud addition to British chick lit told in Jess's comedienne-to-be voice. At the end of Girl, 15, Charming but Insane (Delacorte, 2004), the teen realized that she was crazy about her clever pal, Fred, and that he shared her affection. As they're about to settle into a perfect summer, Jess's mom announces a two-week vacation visiting historical and literary landmarks-just what a teen relishes most-that will end with a trip to the beach where her artist dad lives. Along the way, her grandmother plans to scatter her grandfather's ashes in the sea near their honeymoon village. Although Jess longs to visit her dad, she despairs at the timing, especially since Fred has bought tickets to a music fest. As in its predecessor, this story relies on Jess's misconceptions, emotional dips and heights, and on characters and situations that are both sweet and wacky. In a fit of spontaneity, she boards a bus to her father's a day early and learns that he broke up with her mother because he's gay. She meets his partner, a boutique-owner and boatsman, who offers to take Granny out to sea for a private ash-scattering ceremony. Although readers will savor this novel on its own, reading Girl, 15 first makes it even funnier.-Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Disaster! Jess tried to hide her horror. Her mum frowned. "What's wrong, sweetheart? It's what you've always wanted. A trip to see your Dad! I rang him about it last night and he can't wait to see you! And there'll be sun, sea, art and icecream! Plus lots of interesting places on the way down there. It's the holiday of a lifetime. For goodness' sake, Jess! What's the matter?" Jess could not possibly, ever, tell. She would rather run through the supermarket stark naked and farting than reveal her secret to Mum. This sudden fabulous surprise holiday was going to ruin her life, big time. Jess's heart sank and sank and sank until it was right down on the carpet like a very ill pet. But she must try and sound delighted. "Nothing's wrong! I've just got a bit of a headache. But hey, Mum! Thanks! It'll be fantastic! When do we leave?" She tried desperately to force a bit of enthusiasm into her voice, but it was hopeless -- like trying to cram her bum into size 10 jeans. "We'll set off the day after tomorrow," said her mum, with the excited smile of a practised torturer. "Early. There won't be so much traffic then, and we can just potter gently down into the countryside. Oh, I can't wait! It's going to be marvellous!" Mum's eyes glazed over and she stared out of the window with a look of faraway rapture, as if the angel of the Lord had just appeared over Tesco's. "Ruined abbeys!" she drooled. "Rare wild flowers! Bronze Age Burial Mounds!" Jess sometimes thought her mum was slightly off her head. Maybe if her parents had stayed together it would have kept Mum sane. But then again, maybe not. Her dad was kind of crazy, too. "Start packing!" said Mum. "You've only got twenty four hours!" And she rushed off upstairs, possibly to pack " Fabulous Fossils and Fascinating Cracks in the Ground " or " Sexy Sea Urchins of the South West ." Twenty-four hours! Jess had to think fast. She had just one day to put an end to this obscene talk of a holiday. Could she become dangerously ill in twenty-four hours? Could she discreetly vandalise the car so it would never, ever, start again? Could she, acting with utmost care of course, slightly burn the house down? She had to see Fred. Dear Fred! He would know what to do. Perhaps they could elope. She had to text him now! Jess raced up to her bedroom but -- how cruel fate was - her mobile phone had disappeared. The floor of her room was covered with a kind of lasagne of clothes, CDs, books, and empty chocolate wrappers. Jess flung the debris around for a moment and then decided to cut her losses and just go round to Fred's house without texting him. She just had to check her make-up, first. Jess headed for the kitchen where there was a small mirror above the sink, so you could stare into your own tortured eyes as you washed the dishes. Oh my God, her eyebrows were rubbish. They would have been rubbish even on an orang-utan. "Have you seen my teeth?" came a sudden spooky voice behind her. But it wasn't a spectral presence. It was only Granny. Actually what she said was "Have you feen my teeth?" because when she lost her teeth she couldn't pronounce her "s"s. She called Jess "Jeff". This was slightly irritating. Jess wasn't completely opposed to the idea of a sex change, but if she did unexpectedly become a male person, she wanted to be called Brad, not Jeff. "Have you looked under your pillow?" asked Jess. They went into Granny's room and found the teeth immediately. "My goodness, you are brilliant at finding things, dear," said Granny. "You should work in airport security when you leave school." Jess laughed. Granny's teeth were always either in a glass of water on the bedside table, or under the pillow. Granny picked up her teeth and for a moment used them in a kind of ventriloquist act. "Hello, Jeff!" she said in a squeaky voice she always used for the teeth. "What'f for fupper?" Granny made the teeth chomp together in a hungry kind of way. This little cabaret had amused Jess quite a lot when she was younger, but now, quite frankly, it was beginning to lose its allure. Jess was desperate to escape and fly to the arms of Fabulous Fred. She laughed politely and backed off down the hallway towards the front door. "Let's go and watch the news," said Granny, ramming her teeth back into her mouth with panache. "There's been an explosion in Poland, it's terrible. Hundreds feared dead." Granny was quite ghoulish in her addiction to catastrophe. "I've got to go out, Granny," said Jess, looking at her watch in an important way. "I've got to say goodbye to my friends before I go on holiday." "Ah! Our lovely trip! I'm so looking forward to it, dear, aren't you? We're going to end up in Cornwall, of course, and that's where Grandpa and I spent our honeymoon, you know." Jess had heard this story approximately 99,999 times. Please don't say anything more about it, Granny, thought Jess desperately, or I might just have to bundle you away affectionately but briskly into the cupboard under the stairs. "And," Granny went on excitedly, "I'm taking Grandpa's ashes so I can throw them into the sea!" Jess smiled through gritted teeth and reached behind her to open the front door. "Lovely, Granny! Fabulous idea! Ashes, sea -- go for it! Kind of like, The Afterlife is a Scuba-Diving Holiday !" Granny laughed. "Now you must excuse me, Granny -- I really must go! Flora's waiting for me in the park!" "Oh all right dear -- I'll keep you posted on the Polish explosion when you get back!" promised Granny. She trotted eagerly into the sitting room, heading for the TV. Jess ran out of the house and sped down the road. It had been a lie about Flora waiting for her in the park. An excuse to get away. The person she really had to see was Fred. Please God, she prayed as she hurtled off towards the sacred house where the divine Fred Parsons lived. Save me, please, from this terrible holiday! Sprain my ankle! Sprain both my ankles! And please let Fred be in! Excerpted from Girl, (Nearly) 16: Absolute Torture by Sue Limb All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.