Books by Barry Jonsberg

Released: Sept. 9, 2014

"Once readers are past the book's uninviting title, they'll find it impossible not to root for Candice in her valiant and endearing quest to mitigate the sadness of those around her. (Fiction 10-14)"
Twenty-six chapters, one for each letter of the alphabet, chronicle Candice's efforts to fix her family, her friend—and even her fish. Read full book review >
DREAMRIDER by Barry Jonsberg
Released: Feb. 12, 2008

From the first line—"I killed two kids at school today"—to the closing Messianic reference, this follows Michael through one week in the tortured and bullied life of a fat kid in his seventh new school. Michael's only refuge is his ability to have "lucid dreams," which allow him to control his painful reality. His life is not without kindness from a well-meaning but dithering stepmother; a plump, sympathetic classmate; a wise teacher; an administrator. The latter two are powerless to help Michael who understandably resists accusing his assailants. But after years of physical and emotional abuse, Michael's "dreamriding" is perverted from acts of kindness to violent acts of retribution. It emerges that Michael himself is an unreliable narrator, that nothing and no one is as it seems, that the story can be read and interpreted on many levels. Undeniably compelling but darkly disturbing and ultimately deeply perplexing. (author's note) (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT? by Barry Jonsberg
Released: Feb. 13, 2007

From Australia comes another great piece of YA literature with wit, zing and depth. Sixteen-year-old Calma lives for literature and finally has a good English teacher, but problems with love, family and friends tear her away from her passion. She instantly falls for handsome Jason, but her best friend is clearly suffering from some hidden anxiety, her despised, long-gone father has suddenly returned and her always-working mom seems to be involved with a mysterious man. Even as Calma constantly missteps, she remains confident in her superior intelligence, sure she can ferret out what's really going on. Jonsberg inserts a leitmotif about literature, with poetry and Calma's warning about the unreliable narrator. Plenty of on-the-spot humor mingles with looming tragedy, as Calma simply can't imagine that she might be making some mistakes. Readers will laugh, cry and, without trying, learn. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
Released: June 14, 2005

A first novel from Australia pits two unlikely friends against a battle-ax disciplinarian of a teacher. Calma Harrison is a bright student with a less than stellar attitude and Jaryd "Kiffo" Kiffing is a dismal student from the wrong side of the tracks with an infinitely worse attitude. When Kiffo meets his match in Miss Payne, a feud ensues. Calma and Kiffo go way back, so Calma insists on helping Kiffo stake out Miss Payne's house in the hopes of discovering evidence to confirm the theory that she is a drug dealer. The drug theme plays out on two levels; one told in short flashbacks that also reveal the origins of Calma's tight relationship with Kiffo. Calma's narrative voice is wittily sarcastic, clever and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. This does not prepare the reader for the stunning dénouement that abruptly changes the voice as well as the point of the story. Still, this is a great read and definitely an author to watch. (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >