Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I truly, Completely Lost It - Lisa Shanahan

I admit it. I picked this one up solely on the cover. I thought, "wow that is a cute cover. I love the way she's rolling her eyes, her cute bangs, sure her eye looks a bit bloodshot, but the irreverent gum bubble more than makes up for it. I'll read it." And read it I did. Almost in one sitting (I got tired and had to sleep).

This is an Australian author, who I as I was looking up her info - as I've never heard of her before, I discovered that she'll actually be at Book People on 10/13/07. That is sort of exciting! She's written several children's books, but this is her first book for teens.

Gemma Stone is a puker. Anytime she has to speak in public she has the uncontrollable urge to vomit. So when the boy of her dreams mentions that she should try out for the school play, she figures its kind of crazy but maybe she can show up and just work on the sets or something. Her plan is derailed by the egalitarian drama teacher who likes everyone to audition.

Besides the play there are all kinds of things going on in Gemma's life. Her sister accepted a proposal to "spice up" her boyfriend's life and marry him. And her sister doesn't seem terribly concerned that his family is obsessed with war to the point of boot camp style structures being built in their backyard complete with muddy moats to fall into (with guests being arm-twisted into participating). Gemma is also in the wedding and has the unusual honor of not only being the oldest flower girl alive, but one who also has to wear the most unique flower girl outfit ever created to match the wedding theme, "animals and birds that mate for life."

There is Nick, the boy who told Gemma to turn out for the play. There is Raven who is her audition partner. He belongs to the town's infamously rough family of ill repute who named all their sons after birds. Magpie, Crow, Raven, Sparrow, and Robin.

And there are lots of laughs. This book is a total hoot. Gemma is a funny narrator and the book is very light hearted with some surprising substance. The book is filled with Australian slang that for the most part is self evident. There were a few words I couldn't figure out, but it made me more curious than anything. And there was a plot twist that totally blindsided me. Perhaps I should have seen it coming, clues were certainly planted, but I was utterly surprised.

A very solid book that I see being really popular with your Chick Lit loving girls. Especially those that are drawn to series such as the Georgia Nicolson books. I thought it felt more like those even though they're British, rather than Jaclyn Moriarty, who I admit is one of the only other Australian authors that I'm familiar with. And this is completely irrelevant but from a quick glance at her blog I noticed that Jaclyn named her new baby Charlie. A name that my husband and I have been discussing. Woot!

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