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

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Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

“The day I broke up with my boyfriend Evan was the day he wrote the song. You know, the song.”

Audrey thought she was just breaking up with her boyfriend; she didn’t know she was inspiring a billboard top song. Everything changes when Evan’s, her boyfriend, song “Audrey, Wait!” starts getting played on the radio. Everyone recognizes Audrey from the song and she becomes an instant celebrity, adored and hated. Musicians try to date her to get inspiration and teen girls sneak into her school to get her autograph. Things are getting complicated and a little scary as Audrey tries to shed the limelight, especially because it’s interfering with her ability to date this really cute guy at her work.

Will Audrey ever be able to have a normal life again? Get ready to find out, because it’s time for Audrey to tell her side of the story. (from jacket cover)

I thought Audrey, Wait! was a complete breath of fresh air. Robin Benway knows how to write for teens and I thoroughly enjoyed Audrey’s whit, dry humour and brilliant sarcasm. She is a very well written character, both loveable and enviable. She is also very relatable, especially to those for whom music plays a heavy role in their lives. I thought the idea was very original and I enjoyed watching the story un-fold. I also loved all the musical elements that were interwoven, including the quotes at the top of each chapter, it added considerable depth to the story. Overall, it was an awesome book and I think it has wide appeal.

You might enjoy Audrey, Wait! If you like books with: laugh out loud moments, sarcasm and whit, focus on main character rather than fast paced plot, quirky side characters and books about music

Also by Robin Benway: The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May & June

If you liked Audrey, Wait! You might also enjoy: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, How to be Popular by Meg Cabot, Boys, Girls and other Hazardous Materials by Rosalind Wiseman

Additional Info: Check out the Audrey, Wait website to read an excerpt, see the official soundtrack for the book(which you can download from itunes) and upload your photo to see yourself in the tabloids.

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

Rating: W4/4 CP3.5/4 P4/4 O4/4 PP3/4 CR3/4

Grade Level Interest: JS

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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

Getting Revenge On Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook

“She might have forgotten all about me, but I certainly never forgot about here. Not for one single day.”

In the final weeks of 8th grade Lauren did something to her best friend that was unforgivable, something so publicly humiliating that Helen, her best friend, had to move. Helen has never forgiven nor forgotten what Lauren did and has plotted revenge ever since. When Helen gets the opportunity to move back to her old town in senior year she takes it and sets in process a revenge plan that will topple Lauren: take her boyfriend, take her cheerleading and take her popularity.

I love this from the summary on the book: “Watch out Lauren Wood. Things are about to get bitchy.”

I’m not sure what it says about me that I loved his book. I thought it was light, refreshing and completely hilarious. I couldn’t get enough of Cook’s witty writing, every day characters and ultimate revenge plan. Despite all the horrible things that Helen ends up doing, I can’t think of a character I’ve rooted for more. I just kept holding my breath waiting for the shoe to fall, for her to go too far; I was hooked. It’s a quick read, there isn’t a lot of depth, and frankly it is a book about revenge, but it’s fun and easy, adorable and funny. I highly recommend it.

You might like Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood if you like books with: fast pacing, whitty and sarcastic and somewhat dark humour, a high school cheerleader gets what’s coming plot.

Also by Eileen Cook: What Would Emma Do?

If you liked Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood you might also like: The Summer I turned Pretty by Jenny Han, Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle, The Naughty List by Suzanne Young and Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Author’s website found here.

Rating: W4/4   C4/4   P3.5/4   O2/4   PP3/4   CR3.4

Grade Level: MJS