Tenth-grader Teresa knows exactly how it feels to be in love: “Your stomach is in knots. Your palms sweat. Your hearing goes. Your brain turns to mush. You walk around under a cloud of misery all the time. It’s the absolute best!” If only she could make Achingly Adorable Adam feel the same way about her. If only she had bigger boobs, er, breasts (“only women with no self-esteem call them boobs,” her mother corrects), maybe she’d finally have the man of her dreams, or at least a boyfriend.
Teresa narrates her trials and tribulations—her self-absorbed sister is about to be married, her “old” parents are going to have another baby, her Maltese grandfather has started leaving the mail in the refrigerator, she loses her best friend when the popular Glams want her to hang out with them, and her secret air bra is discovered—through every letter of the alphabet. She weaves each alphabet word, from family, kiss, and opportunity to gross, jerk, and Quantity Theory, into the chapter, adding text messages and comical notes, lists, and observations.
My Life from Air-Bras to Zits continues to prove Barbara Haworth-Attard’s writing breadth. The Canadian author has written a variety of novels for young adults, including fantasy in Truthsinger, historical fiction in Love-Lies-Bleeding, and the gripping realities of life on the streets for one teen in Theories of Relativity. She has also gleaned several award nominations for these novels in her native country.
Teresa’s self-deprecating humor and such moments as role-playing with her childhood Ken and Barbie and discovering she has a latex allergy while putting a condom on a banana in health class will make readers laugh out loud as the teen copes with personal changes and the changes going on around her. But it is her relationship with her large, multicultural family and the lessons she learns about true friends and loyalty that makes her endearing in the end. This is a book for chick-lit fans who want more intelligence than fluff.