Girls Under Pressure I really seem to have got the knack of dieting now. I’m still starving hungry all the time and my tummy aches badly and I keep having to pee a lot and whenever I get up quickly or rush around I feel faint and most of the time I’ve got a headache and I feel a bit sick and I’ve got a filthy taste in my mouth and my hair’s gone all floppy and I’ve got spots all over my face and on my back too – but it’s worth it to lose weight. Isn’t it?

In this sequel to Girls in Love, things really start to get out of control for Ellie and her two best friends.

Nadine is picked to attend a second-round heat of a modelling competition and becomes suddenly obsessed with her appearance and her “modelling career”. Ellie, sparked by a chance remark heard at the initial round of this competition, becomes convinced that she is enormously fat and is determined to lose weight, and lots of it – no matter what the cost. Meanwhile, Magda falls completely for a football player, gets herself into a horribly dangerous situation, and loses all self-esteem as she wonders if her looks are to blame for the trouble she so nearly got into.

Each girl in her own way has serious problems, but their support for one another means that they will all pull through. Right?

(I’m loving, by the way, Ellie’s Christmas presents: a book on her hero Frida Kahlo, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, and The Color Purple by Alice Walker.)