Jenny Q, Stitched Up
by Pauline McLynn (Author)
Best known as an actress and comedian, Pauline McLynn has tried her hand at writing for the teenage market with her YA debut Jenny Q.
Jennifer Quinn deals with the teenage trials of having a horrendously embarrassing family, somehow navigating the emotional minefield of liking boys for the first time and dealing with the fallout of falling over and revealing her massive knickers to the world (something very reminiscent of Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson).
Realistic from the outset, the novel, set in the fictional Dublin suburb of Oakdale, makes mention of the recession and the central characters spend much of their time knitting Christmas presents. Jenny and her ‘Bestests’ Dixie and Ugg (Eugene) make up the ‘Knit and Knatter’ club, which convenes in Jenny’s bedroom to stitch and knit as they discuss pregnancy (Jenny’s Mum’s), the Slinkies (school popular kids) and Stevie Lee (obligatory crush). Notably, McLynn seems to have a knack for teenage dialogue, with their OTT take on everything captured just so, down to the misspelled txt msgs.
Showing a considered insight into the minutiae of the teenage thought process, McLynn lists ‘being left alone’ among Jenny Q’s likes, while her hair is ‘strawberry blonde NOT ginger’. It’s a little sad to see a thirteen-year-old character who’s worried about her ‘muffin top’ and the book doesn’t leverage its vantage point to pronounce on such a worry as ridiculous, which is concerning insofar as it might solidify the insecurities of an impressionable reader instead of reassuring, but Jenny is a good-head-on-her-shoulders character who isn’t afraid to follow her own sense of right and wrong and stand up to bullies.
Funny and well-paced, Jenny Q is a confident debut and will make a welcome addition to the shelves of Louise Rennison and Lois Lowry fans.
This review was published online in