Title: Let Down Your Hair

Author: Bryony Gordon

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

The Blurb

Introducing the YA fiction debut from bestselling author and journalist Bryony Gordon in a modern twist on Rapunzel and one girl’s quest to find a different sort of happy ever after. 

Barb may have zero friends IRL, but online, she is popular. Like, several-hundred-thousand-followers popular. Or at least, her hair is popular. Because Barb’s hair is glossy and beautiful. Which is why hairbrush manufacturers pay her stupid money for a 30-second clip. But most of the time Barb just wants to be a typical teenager, who has friends and a life. One who isn’t confined to her bedroom on the 12th floor of the tower-block flat she shares with her aunt making content. One who can go about her business without everyone obsessing over the way she looks. Barb just needs to save up some money to make a new life for herself.

But it’s soon clear something isn’t right. Because when Barb runs her fingers over her scalp, she feels something smooth and different. She gets out her mirrors and combs for a video and sees it … a bald patch the size of a ten pence coin, slap bang in the middle of her head.

Barb has alopecia.

In this stunning retelling of Rapunzel, Barb must learn that she is so much more than her hair and that there is no such thing as a happy ending … just lots of complicated new beginnings.

The Review

As far as retellings go Bryony Gordon’s retelling of Rapunzel is pretty good.

Set in modern times with modern day problems – social media being the biggest, Bryony Gordon revisits the tale of Rapunzel placing her in a London tower block instead of an ivory tower and making her an online content creator instead of a princess. Instead of dealing with just a crazed mother figure locking her in a tower our new Rapunzel Barb has to contend with school bullies, passing her GCSEs and now the biggest problem of all – alopecia – not great when your content is all about hair care.

What Bryony Gordon does so well is concentrate on the mental health worries of children and the impact that social media can have. She looks at low income families, the growing desire for the fairy tale life that is presented through our screens and also alternative families.

Another strength in Let Down Your Hair is the relatability factor. No one is immune from the insecurities that our characters face. It is a real strength in Bryony Gordon’s writing.

Let Down Your Hair by Bryony Gordon is available now.

For more information regarding Hachette Children’s Group (@HachetteKids) please visit www.hachettechildren’s.co.uk.

Title: You Got This – A Fabulous Guide to Being You

Author: Bryony Gordon

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Wren & Rook

The Blurb

I wanted to be a unicorn. I wanted to be a lawyer. I wanted to be an astronaut.

But the thing I really wanted to be, more than anything else, was a little less like me.

It was only recently that I realised not wanting to be me was at the heart of every dumb decision I ever made. And so now I am writing this book containing all the life lessons I wish someone had taught me.

A book for the teenage girl in me. And for every teenage girl out there. Because the most powerful thing you can be when you grow up is yourself.

Frank and fearless, You Got This openly explores topics like self-respect, body image, masturbation and mental health, making it the perfect companion for young women.


The Review

When I was a teenager I was obsessed with The Teenage Worriers Guides. I didn’t necessarily have many problems but it was through these books that I learned things that you learn in that awkward time before you become an adult. Those books wouldn’t necessarily work for a modern reader – enter Bryony Gordon.

This book deals with real life issues that teenagers go through. Things that may have been a problem when I was younger, not to the extent or pertinence as it is these days such as body image, relationships, mental health. Bryony talks directly to the reader. She doesn’t talk down to them nor does she sound superior in a “been-there-done-that” way but she does give her real life examples of how she has been effected by what has happened to her in her life.

You Got This is a book that should be put in every school library or given out as a gift to teenagers by the government as a guide to getting through those awkward and difficult days.

You Got This by Bryony Gordon is available now.

For more information regarding Bryony Gordon (@bryony_gordon) please visit www.bryonysmadworld.telegraph.co.uk.

the-wrong-knickersTitle: The Wrong Knickers – A Decade of Chaos

Author: Bryony Gordon

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: Headline Review

The Blurb

Bryony Gordon survived her adolescence by dreaming about the life she’d have in her twenties: the perfect job; the lovely flat; the amazing boyfriend. The reality was something of a shock. Her Telegraphcolumn was a diary of her daily screw-ups; she lived in a series of squalid shoe boxes; and her most meaningful relationship of the entire decade was with a Marlboro Light.

Here in the Sunday Times bestselling THE WRONG KNICKERS Bryony busts open the glamorized myth of what it means to be a young (perpetually) single girl about London town, and shares the horrible and hilarious truth. The truth about picking up a colleague at the STI clinic; sinking into debt to fund a varied diet of wine, crisps and vodka; and how it feels when your dream man turns out to be a one night stand who hands you someone else’s knickers in the morning.

Bryony’s wonderfully ridiculous and ultimately redemptive story is essential reading for everyone whose ‘best years’ weren’t quite what they were expecting…

The Review

Margaret Mitchell has been quoted as saying that “life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.” And for Bryony Gordon this couldn’t be more apt; life hasn’t turned out the way she expected it to. She is in her twenties, her prime, the best years of her life and she is screwing it up royally. She is in debt, she is using drugs, she is drunk half the time (and hung over the other half) and you know what? She is having a bloody good time. The only problem is that she expected to be/have so much more by now. She hasn’t got her life together. She isn’t married; she doesn’t have the house and the 2.4 children or a comfortable amount of money in the bank and the years seem to be dwindling away as quickly as the bottles of wine she orders with her dinner.

For most, your twenties are for having fun, trying new things without the pressures of parents and education; with just the freedom of knowing you can do whatever it is you damn well want. This is a period of your life when essentially you are just a teenager with a credit card. And Bryony Gordon exemplifies that perfectly.

The Wrong Knickers is chock full of tales of sexual misadventure, recreational drug use and a total disregard for matters of health. As Gordon invites you into her twenties with unadulterated candour you feel like you are having a conversation with her and that she is confiding in you as only a close friend does. You become charmed by Gordon and her story becomes all the more relevant for two reasons. The first being because it is a true account of her life; secondly because it is far too easy to relate to the things she has done mainly because you have done half of them yourself.

As memoirs go, The Wrong Knickers has to be one of my favourites. I laughed out loud many a time and quite alarmingly recognised myself in Gordon at too many junctures in the book. What Gordon manages to do, in her own self-effacing way, is make the reader feel normal; whether that reader is currently in their twenties and feeling completely lost or if they are older and have managed to get past that feeling of utter hopelessness. Maybe they are reading from a standpoint of having their life together and are fondly looking back on all the mistakes and mishaps they made to get them there. Essentially what this book does is it allows us to realise that mistakes are a part of life, a part of our own story and every one of them has lead us to where we are today. For that, I thank you Bryony Gordon.

Follow Bryony Gordon (@bryony_gordon) on Twitter.

For more titles from Headline Review (@headlinepg) please visit the official website www.headline.co.uk.

4 Stars