The West

New series for forgotten girls
Thalia Kalkipsakis is writing for girls hitting their teens. Picture: Supplied.

What's a girl to do? You've grown out of the fairies and unicorn books but you're not ready for the vampire and teenage angst titles.

The publishers at Hardie Grant Egmont have come to the rescue. A new series, Girl V the World, has just hit the bookshelves and it's aimed at "the forgotten girls", those aged around 13 years and making the transition from primary to high school.

The girls who loved the same publisher's Go Girl series will be pleased to hear that the same writers have penned Girl V the World. One of them, Thalia Kalkipsakis, is looking forward to writing for not only old Go Girl fans, but for new readers of the series.

"When writing for Go Girl we would come up with ideas that weren't really appropriate for that younger age group," Kalkipsakis says. "So they were put into folders for another time.

"Now the old Go Girl team is back and we're picking up some of the themes and running with them."

The Victorian writer enjoys writing for this "tween-age" group, as there are more "meatier" issues to be explored.

"These girls are just hitting puberty, they're starting high school, having their first crush," Kalkipsakis says. "It really takes you back to your own early teenage years."

The series aims to tackle real life problems faced by typical 13-year-old girls but not in a patronising or moralising way.

It is the aim of Kalkipsakis to "illuminate the readers' future" so that when they come to a certain place in their lives they can face difficulties without being scared.

One of the issues this reviewer has with the series is that a number of the main characters, whilst initially not viewing boys as boyfriend material, end up in a relationship. I asked Kalkipsakis why they couldn't be allowed to just be content with this stage of development, leaving the boy issues until they are ready.

"We want the reader to enjoy the story," Kalkipsakis says. "We (the authors) are just a bunch of romantics really.

"The characters evolve and I hope readers will just have fun with the story and dream that one day it will be them getting the boy. We didn't want to be too didactic."

Kalkipsakis grew up in rural Victoria with two older sisters and realised early in life that she wanted to be a writer.

"When I was little I wrote a story in which someone had died," she explains. "I showed it to Mum and she cried. That idea of connecting emotionally with someone really struck a chord with me. When I write I want to connect with the reader on some sort of emotional level be it an understanding or an 'ah' moment."

Kalkipsakis has a 10-year-old daughter herself but says that she won't be giving her the Girl V the World series just yet.

"She's not quite ready emotionally for them," says Kalkipsakis "But I will be giving them to her later on."

The Girl V the World series is published by Hardie Grant Egmont ($12.95 each).

The West Australian

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