Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance and Cookery by Susan Juby

Sherman Mack, well he’s kind of a nobody, but he knows what he likes: cooking classes, detective stories and girls, well one girl in particular…Dini Trioli. When Dini starts dating a popular lacrosse player Sherman’s afraid she is in danger of being defiled. No one knows who starts it or why, but once a girl’s picture appears on the bathroom mirrors in the school with a big D written on it, she’s as good as invisible, a social lepper, and Sherman thinks Dini’s next. In order to save her reputation, win the girl and be the inevitable hero, Sherman goes undercover.

Getting the Girl is a wryly observant look at high school and the social and physical awkwardness of grade 9 boys. The narrative is sincere and unapologetic in its frankness and it makes for quite an enjoyable read. Sherman is one of the best male main characters I’ve read in a while. I thoroughly enjoyed all his embarrassing moments and naive reflections, he was very lovable. The supporting characters were quirky and equally as fun to read about.  Judy also did a wonderful job at addressing social hierarchy and bullying in a way that was humorous and unobtrusive. The thing I enjoyed most about this novel was the flow and Juby’s writing style – I can’t wait to read more of her books. YA boys might also really enjoy this novel.

You might enjoy Getting the Girl if you like books with: male main characters, quirky and hilarious storylines, high school settings, a good mixture of likable characters and fast moving plots

Also by Susan Juby: Alice I think, Alice Macleod Realist at Last, Another Kind of Cowboy, Miss Smithers

If you liked Getting the Girl, you might also enjoy: Boy’s Girls and Other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman, The Dark Days of Hamburger Haplin by Josh Berk, Will Grayson; Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Author website: http://www.susanjuby.com/

Rating: W4/4   C4/4   P3.5/4   O3/4   PP3/4   CR3.5/4

Grade Level Interest: JS

Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?

 Before, Parker was perfect. Before, Parker was head cheerleader and girlfriend to the most popular guy in school. Before, Parker was a teacher’s pet and was getting good grades.

Now she shows up at school drunk, skips class and the school has her on suicide watch.  The only thing she wants to do is disappear, she definitely doesn’t want to talk about it. Blaming herself for something horrible that’s happened, Parker tries her best to prove that she’s not feeling anything at all, and just wants to stay out of everyone’s way until she graduates. But the past has a habit of catching up with you.

Cracked up to be is a haunting story of a girl’s self-destruction. Courtney Summers gives the reader a character that is broken and heartbreaking, yet completely loveable. While some may find her bad attitude frustrating, I found Parker’s dark humour and frailness compelling. I also especially enjoyed Summers’ commentary on some of the pressure of being popular. “I didn’t want to be popular because it was easier; I wanted to be popular because in high school that’s the best thing you can be: Perfect. Everything else is shit.” There is a lot of dialogue which makes the story move quickly. Summers also does a brilliant job of using repeating flashbacks to give the reader a bit more of the ‘incident’ each time. Overall, I thought this was a really great story with some surprises, poignant observations and beautiful characters. 

You might enjoy Cracked up to be if you like books with: a lot of dialogue, fast moving plots, a very central main character, real life elements, serious issues, suspense

Other books by Courtney Summers: Some Girls Are

If you liked Cracked up to be you might also enjoy: Crash into me by Albert Borris, Beautiful by Amy Reed, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Black Tuesday by Susan Colebank

Author’s website found here.

Rathing: W4/4   C4/4   P4/4   O3.5/4   PP3/4   CR2.5/4

Grade: S

Author Spotlight – Lesley Livingston

This is a monthly feature that will highlight and introduce the works of Canadian YA authors.  I’m doing this mostly for self-education because unfortunately I’m not all that aware of the amazing talent that exists in my own country.  (I might shake it up from time to time and include an American author.)

I love it when Canadian authors are wonderfully successful. However, I hate when people assume an author is American because they are so successful. This happened to me in Chapters the other day. I was busy browsing for books and I overheard a teen asking a sales person if Lesley Livingston was Canadian and the sales person literally said, “I don’t think so, she’s pretty famous.”  What is it about Canadian fiction that causes people to assume that if it isn’t dry and is popular it must not be from here? Well, I’m highlighting Lesley Livingston today to squash any bad assumptions about Canadian authors.  

This month’s author: Lesley Livingston

Author blurb: Lesley is a YA author and actor living in Toronto, Canada. She enjoys mythology, folk lore and otherworldly stories such as those that feature faeries.  She has a Master’s degree in English from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Shakespeare and Arthurian literature. She is also a founding member and principal performer with the Tempest Theatre Group. She is currently writing the last novel in her very successful Wondrous Strange trilogy.

“Wondrous Strange is an urban fantasy that weaves elements of A Midsummer Night’s Dream together with teen romance and chilling adventure that erupts when dangerous faeries invade the human world through a gate in Central Park” – great summary from her blog

 

Wondrous Strange and Darklight. The third book is set to be released at the end of the year.

Author website: http://www.lesleylivingston.com/

Author blog: http://lesleylivingston.blogspot.com/

Author Spotlight (2)

This is a monthly feature that will highlight and introduce the works of Canadian YA authors.  I’m doing this mostly for self-education because unfortunately I’m not all that aware of the amazing talent that exists in my own country.  (I might shake it up from time to time and include an American author)

This month’s author: Tim Wynne-Jones

Author Blurb: Before Christmas I read Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones and was completely captivated by his talent. One of the things that surprised me was the sheer expanse of his writing; including everything from picture books to radio plays. Tim lives near Perth, Ontario with his wife Amanda. He loves reading, cooking and music (he’s played in a few bands). His first novel, Odd’s End, won the Seal First Novel Award, winning him $50,000 and putting him on the map for Canadian literature. Mystery is a common element in his books, as is the Canadian landscape.

Tim’s website is very comprehensive (one of the better author sites I’ve seen). For a more detailed  biographical sketch, news about his whereabouts, upcoming books, awards, tips for writing, reviews, etc, check out his website.

*side note, his website indicates that The Uninvited has been nominated for the 2010 OLA White Pine Award! Congratulations!

For a full bibliography check out his website, below is just a small selection of his great work.

The Last Piece of Sky, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Architect of the Moon, illustrated by Ian Wallace

The Uninvited

Rex Zero Series

A Thief in the House of Memory

 

 

Author Spotlight (1)

This is a monthly feature that will highlight and introduce the works of Canadian YA authors.  I’m doing this mostly for self-education because unfortunately I’m not all that aware of the amazing talent that exists in my own country.  (I might shake it up from time to time and include an American author)

This month’s author: Kelley Armstrong

Author Blurb: I once heard someone say that Kelley Armstrong couldn’t be Canadian, she’s too popular! HA!  Armstrong is married with three children and she resides here in Ontario. She has a degree in Psychology and studied Computer Programming here in London. She writes mainly fantasy/paranormal books with all the characters that are so popular these days; witches, werewolves, ghosts, demons, vampires, etc.  Many YA readers who are familiar with her Darkest Powers Trilogy might not be aware that Kelley also writes adult fiction.

Author Website:  Kelley Armstrong: Step into a New World

If you are a fan of Kelley, check out her website because she has monthly contests giving away signed copies of her published novels.

Darkest Powers Trilogy

 

Women of the Other World Series (Adult Fiction)

  1. Bitten
  2. Stolen
  3. Dime Store Magic
  4. Industrial Magic
  5. Haunted
  6. Broken
  7. No Humans Involved
  8. Personal Demon
  9. Living with the Dead
  10. Frostbitten
  11. Waking the Witch