21:40 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments

Let's pretend it's still Tuesday and I didn't forget to post this.

The recent influx of general uni related crap in my life has left me with a nostalgic ache for days long past. Days spent carefree, when homework was a simple one-sided, A4 multiple-choice worksheet instead of a six page long investigation into the use of language in BBC sitcoms. Days when I didn't struggle to balance a job and an ever-increasing school work load. Days when I didn't stare in puzzled rage at a bank statement because how the hell did I spend £48 on eBay again. The thing that filled most of those days? The wonder that is Jacqueline Wilson books. The favourite author of young girls and, I'm sure, boys the length and breadth of the UK, Jackie has always had a special place in my heart - and she always will. And what better way to doff my metaphorical cap to the creator of the centre-points of my childhood, than with a top ten post dedicated solely to her?

10. The Story of Tracy Beaker

A classic if ever I heard of one, Tracy Beaker is probably Jacqueline Wilson's most iconic book. I absolutely fell in love with this book when I was about six or seven years old, around the same time that I started to get big into the TV show. It's remained a firm favourite ever since, and my copy will stay with me forever, no matter how much dust it gathers. 

9.  Bad Girls

I have a signed copy of this one. Be jealous. 

This is one of the books that best illustrates Jacqueline Wilson's marvellous ability to write about the darker, grittier, more hard-hitting issues in a way that won't scar your children for life. This book deals with themes of bullying, peer pressure and the stigmas surrounding people of certain backgrounds. This book has great messages about the importance of friendship, the risks of giving into peer pressure, and not judging on appearance and I would absolutely recommend it for children around the 8-12 age mark. 

8. Vicky Angel

Another book that deals beautifully with the less pleasant aspects of life, this one takes the horrifying aspect of the death of a best friend at a very young age. This is probably a book more suited to slightly older girls than Bad Girls, as it deals with some more upsetting and more mature themes. It's a very sensitive and interesting take on the mourning process and the effect that it can have on mental health. 

7. Lola Rose

This is actually still to this day one of my favourite books, despite being aimed at an audience much younger than myself. It deals with some incredibly dark and troublesome themes, most prominently domestic violence and having a very seriously ill parent. The main character - eponymous Lola Rose - narrates the story in a really beautiful way; mature beyond her ten years, yet still tinged with that childlike sense of imagination and wonder. Definitely worth a read for both children and young adults alike. 

6. Candyfloss

While still dealing with some very gritty themes, this book is a little bit more light hearted than some others on this list. Floss's fierce will, ever-optimistic outlook on life and unwavering loyalty to her poor old dad provides for a narration that is hilarious and touching. This novel teaches its readers that things can and will get better and that happiness can be found in the most unlikely of places.

5. The Diamond Girls

This book, like Candyfloss, is made much more light-hearted than it perhaps should be because of it's sweet, innocent narrator. Dixie is rather an odd child - perhaps why I always found myself so drawn to her - but her heart is very much in the right place. Much of the novel centres on her desire to help everybody, despite her less-than-ideal family situation and the horrific events in her young friend Mary's life. This book deals with the concept of prejudice towards certain social backgrounds, a volatile family environment, child abuse and post-natal depression. 

4. Clean Break

Fun fact: Em is probably one of my all time favourite characters ever. She's a sweet girl, very mature for her age, who wants nothing more than to help her mum through the hardest of times. This book again has a rather light-hearted tone, while dealing with issues such as divorce and bullying, with some allusions to child abuse and domestic violence. 

3. My Sister Jodie

If you didn't want to be Jodie, you're a liar. 

If you say you didn't bawl your eyes out, you're an even bigger liar. 

This is probably the most heartbreaking Jacqueline Wilson book I've ever read. I don't want to say too much about why because it'll spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it and plans to, but know it involves rather a tragic and very upsetting death. This is unique in that it's written in the style of narrator Pearl's personal journal. A book I'd recommend for young teens upwards due to sensitive content such as death and rather severe bullying, as well as allusions to sex and one use of strong language. 

2. Kiss

I have this one signed too. Be incredibly jealous. 

Honestly, for me this book and the next on the list are absolutely interchangeable in terms of their place on my favourites list. I was, and still am, absolutely in love with this book. For a good two or three years after I read this book I liked to imagine myself best friends with Carl and Sylvie and especially Miranda. This book is at times heart warming, at others hilarious and at others grab-the-Kleenex sad. One I'd highly recommend to slightly older readers - perhaps aged 13 upwards. Contains explicit sexual references, several uses of mild to strong language, references to underage drinking and themes of bullying, homophobia, self-harm and peer pressure.

1. The Illustrated Mum

This is one of those books that hit me a lot harder when I read it as an older person than when I read it as a kid. A very sensitive look into the life of a girl whose single mother suffers greatly with her mental health, this story definitely has the potential to be very upsetting for some audiences. Like My Sister Jodie I can't say too too much without giving the plot away so I'll say only this much; Dol. despite being really rather odd, is a very sweet character who will absolutely find a home in your heart. This book deals with themes of ill mental health, child neglect and bullying.

So those are my favourite Jacqueline Wilson books. Were you into her as a kid? Are you still? Let me know which books were/are your favourites by her. 

Happy reading,
Jazz xo 

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