An upside-down antic adventure set in Melbourne, Australia, presents 11-year-old only child Sunny Hathaway, a reluctant, good-natured keeper of family secrets. Summer means Christmas in Australia, spent with her divorced mother, her mother’s boyfriend and, appallingly, his two quarrelsome sons. All the while she has to keep her Friday-night business Pizza-A-Go-Girl running with best friend Claud(ia) and wonder if she should answer Granny Carmelene Aberdeen’s invitation for a visit. Sunny’s mum, who is well-meaning but can’t stop sneaking cigarettes, has forbidden her daughter to see Granny Carmelene, on account of a long-simmering falling-out; dutiful, confused Sunny does go, however, and learns the dear old antiquarian is dying of cancer. Meanwhile, Claud has gone boy-crazy for seriously messed-up Buster Conroy, Sunny’s father is having a baby with new wife, Steph, and Sunny’s greyhound, Willow, is not taking to this “modern blended family” any better than Sunny is. Decorated throughout with antipodean vernacular, Roberts’s glib, tangential, first-person narrative promises—and delivers—moments of charming girlhood transition and pathos. (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-385-73672-5

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2008

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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Korman’s trademark humor makes this an appealing read.


Will a bully always be a bully?

That’s the question eighth-grade football captain Chase Ambrose has to answer for himself after a fall from his roof leaves him with no memory of who and what he was. When he returns to Hiawassee Middle School, everything and everyone is new. The football players can hardly wait for him to come back to lead the team. Two, Bear Bratsky and Aaron Hakimian, seem to be special friends, but he’s not sure what they share. Other classmates seem fearful; he doesn’t know why. Temporarily barred from football because of his concussion, he finds a new home in the video club and, over time, develops a new reputation. He shoots videos with former bullying target Brendan Espinoza and even with Shoshanna Weber, who’d hated him passionately for persecuting her twin brother, Joel. Chase voluntarily continues visiting the nursing home where he’d been ordered to do community service before his fall, making a special friend of a decorated Korean War veteran. As his memories slowly return and he begins to piece together his former life, he’s appalled. His crimes were worse than bullying. Will he become that kind of person again? Set in the present day and told in the alternating voices of Chase and several classmates, this finding-your-middle-school-identity story explores provocative territory. Aside from naming conventions, the book subscribes to the white default.

Korman’s trademark humor makes this an appealing read. (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-05377-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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