Femme bookend: Perfect even for wimpy readers
If you're determined to get the kids reading this year, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney (Puffin) is the first step.
Tied in with the films, so it's easier to push it into reluctant little hands, it's the latest episode of the story of Greg Heffley.
This is the kind of book adults find baffling, but it's catnip for the kids. The Wimpy Kid series started on the website funbrain.com and continued into books that have sold 32 million copies, then movies (the second now being filmed) and DVDs.
Greg is facing puberty (eww), with all its spotty-faced, voice-breaking, odorous nastiness, and girls. And parties with girls.
But first he has to get through his uncle Gary's latest wedding, sex classes ("Now, I don't know what a chicken egg has to do with having a baby") and 'The Talk' from his grandma Gammy. Kids will love it.
A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess (Avon) should have a health warning -- don't read this when you're drinking anything hot, because you're going to scald yourself spluttering with laughter.
Light-hearted, foul-mouthed (but so funny with its rude puns) and as soaked with romance as a Bloody Mary is with vodka, it's the story of Abigail, whose tasty (but she doesn't fancy him) flatmate Robert decides to coach her in romance. He's going to teach her to date like a man.
"Spread the risk. Mix the good guys with the bad guys," she explains to sister Plum.
"Isn't it that kind of thinking that started the global financial meltdown?" worries Plum. Yes, but Abby won't let that stop her as she wreaks a trail of havoc through the hearts of handsome Londoners -- until she finds the soulmate who was waiting for her all along.
Just in case we're getting too reverential about John Lennon, Celebrities Behaving Badly by Carol McGiffin and Mark Leigh (Summersdale) has a story about the time he went into a club with a sanitary towel hat.
The langered Beatle insulted all present, and when a waitress refused to serve him, slurred: "Don't you know who I am?" She looked him up and down and answered: "Some asshole with a Kotex taped to his head." This is just the thing for January parties, with stories about everyone from Sinead O'Connor (that Pope thing) to Johnny Cash (repainted the rooms in a hotel where he was staying) to Jane Fonda (denounced the robbery of Vietnam's "tung and tinsten deposits", then raged that she didn't have time to "sit down and get a historical analysis and put it into perspective"). And there's a whole chapter just about shoe-loving fashionista Mariah Carey.