Wilson, Jacqueline. Girls Out Late. Gardeners Books, 2003. ISBN 978-0552551335 191 pp. $
In this latest installment in the English series about chubby Ellie, boy-crazy Magda, and elegant Nadine, a lighter issue is the focus of the plot: curfews. Ellie at last has a real boyfriend, but her desire to meet with him is stronger than the desire to get home on time, much to the frustration and worry of her father and young stepmother. A subplot of a crush on the new art teacher is sweet and easy to relate to.
Woodson’s engaging heroine is the everygirl equivalent to Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Alice character, with a British accent and slightly less talk about bodily function. All slang is easily comprehended in context, eliminating the need for a glossary. Darling Ellie is both smarter and more PC than Georgia Nicholson, and there is humor and high drama here as well as fairly normal girls who just want to be loved.
The attractive compact size, low price and catchy covers equal more bang for the buck–once your Alice fans get hold of these, you may need multiple copies. Other titles address anorexia and dating violence. Highly recommended for middle school and up collections.