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Claire Handscombe

What to Read If You Love Derry Girls

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Claire Handscombe
Claire Handscombe
 2021-05-12

Are you anxiously awaiting another season of Derry Girls? If so, I have some book recommendations for you -- they range from the silly and fun which explore teenager girlhood to the more serious aspects of Northern Irish history if you're curious about the aspects of culture we see in the show. Descriptions are taken from online retailers.

Erin's Diary, by Lisa McGee

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Read if you: want a companion volume to the series

Dear Reader,

It is a pleasure to introduce you to this, my memoirs, written and edited by me, Erin Quinn.

My friend Clare gave me this notebook for Christmas, and I think I'm going to use it as a diary. I mean, all the great writers kept diaries and it seems a bit shameful that I've never actually managed it before.

But this year is different. These are extraordinary times in Derry - historically, politically and culturally and I suspect that it may soon become clear that I'm ... well, the voice of a generation. After all, writing isn't a choice. It's a calling.

I hope, dear Reader, that you enjoy, cherish and value my insights.

Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison

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Read if you: love the the humour that runs through the everyday struggles of young women -- especially those of 1990s teenagers in the UK

Brilliantly funny, teenage angst author Louise Rennison's first book about the confessions of crazy but lovable Georgia Nicolson.

Follow Georgia's hilarious antics as she tries to overcome the dilemma's that are weighing up against her, and muddle her way through teenage life and all that it entails: how to replace accidentally shaved-off eyebrows; how to cope with Angus, her small labrador-sized Scottish wildcat; her first kiss with Peter - afterwards known as Whelk Boy; annoying teachers; unsympathetic friends and family, and how to entice Robbie the Sex God! Phew - she's really got her work cut out!

Big Girl Small Town, by Michelle Gallen

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Read if you: like Orla the most

Other people find Majella odd. She keeps herself to herself, she doesn't like gossip and she isn't interested in knowing her neighbours' business. But suddenly everyone in the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up wants to know all about hers.

Since her da disappeared during the Troubles, Majella has tried to live a quiet life with her alcoholic mother. She works in the local chip shop (Monday-Saturday, Sunday off), wears the same clothes every day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, nuked in the microwave) and binge watches Dallas (the best show ever aired on TV) from the safety of her single bed. She has no friends and no boyfriend and Majella thinks things are better that way.

But Majella's safe and predictable existence is shattered when her grandmother dies and as much as she wants things to go back to normal, Majella comes to realise that maybe there is more to life. And it might just be that from tragedy comes Majella's one chance at escape.

Normal People, by Sally Rooney

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Read if you: love exploring the intense emotions of young love

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but the similarities end there. In school, Connell is popular and well-liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation - awkward but electrifying - something life-changing begins.

Normal People is a story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find they can't.

Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling, by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

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Read if you: love the small-town Ireland vibe and the humour that runs through the everyday struggles of young women

Meet Aisling.

She's a small-town girl who dreams of the big city.

She has a heart of gold and an iron belief in the power of control tights.

She has a steady job and a loyal boyfriend (though he hasn't put a ring on it even after seven years).

Then one disastrous romantic getaway convinces Aisling to leave him behind and head for the bright lights.

But with glamorous new flatmates, a scandal at work and a weird love square , Aisling has no idea what's about to hit her.

Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe

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Read if you: want to understand Northern Irish history better

One night in December 1972, Jean McConville, a mother of ten, was abducted from her home in Belfast and never seen alive again. Her disappearance would haunt her orphaned children, the perpetrators of the brutal crime and a whole society in Northern Ireland for decades.

Through the unsolved case of Jean McConville's abduction, Patrick Radden Keefe tells the larger story of the Troubles, investigating Dolours Price, the first woman to join the IRA, who bombed the Old Bailey; Gerry Adams, the politician who helped end the fighting but denied his IRA past; and Brendan Hughes, an IRA commander who broke their code of silence. A gripping story forensically reported, Say Nothing explores the extremes people will go to for an ideal, and the way societies mend - or don't - after long and bloody conflict.