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Mates, Dates, and Mad Mistakes    by Cathy Hopkins order for
Mates, Dates, and Mad Mistakes
by Cathy Hopkins
Order:  USA  Can
Pulse, 2004 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Prolific British author Cathy Hopkins is back with another addition to her Mates, Dates, ... series, which features four friends and their adventures. In Mates, Dates, and Mad Mistakes, sixteen-year-old Izzie is desperate to change her image into something more grown-up.

During the summer before 'Year Ten' (as they say in England), Izzie puts a great deal of thought into reinventing herself into someone more mature. She weeds out her wardrobe, has her belly button pierced, and meets a mysterious new guy named Josh. In an attempt to impress Josh and to experience a more adult side of life, Izzie experiments with drinking, smoking, and general rebellion against her parents. When not all of these things have the desired results, Izzie starts to wonder whether growing up is all it's cracked up to be.

Full of humor and realistic situations, the book shows that teens are the same no matter which country they happen to live in. Izzie is fortunate to have a supportive group of friends who stick by her even when she makes questionable choices. Cathy Hopkins writes knowledgeably about teens and their struggles, with which girls of any age will be able to identify. There's a moral to this story, but it's not presented in a condescending way, so the reader doesn't feel lectured.

Mates, Dates, and Mad Mistakes stands alone. Even if you haven't read any of the previous books in the series, it won't feel like you've missed out on anything. The characters are easy to get to know, the plot moves quickly, and you'll be laughing out loud at the mistakes these girls make -- because they very easily could be your own!

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