AUTHOR = FIONA WOOD
GENRE = FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, GROWING UP
INTEREST LEVEL = YEAR 9 AND UP
This novel is wonderful fun, from the playful cover to the final page. Although the main character (nerdy Dan) may not always think so. Poor Dan has had his life turned upside down: his dad has become bankrupt (so there goes the palatial family home and the private school) and then announced that he is gay (so there goes his parents’ happy marriage). Dan not only has to move houses and suburbs he must start Year 9 at a new school. So over his lonely summer hols he makes a list of 6 things that he wants to do with his new life – starting with kissing the girl next door (the one bright spot on his horizon), and including finding a job and helping cheer up his mum and finishing with one aimed directly at his dad (Dan wants to be a good man – not the sort to walk out on his family). Whilst Dan thinks these 6 things will be impossible to achieve he is determined neverthless. And the reader is sure to enjoy the ride as Dan stumbles along the way … and learns that being “good” is perhaps the most difficult of all … and maybe his dad was better at this than he thought. That simple little list keeps coming back to haunt him.
There is a lot to enjoy in this novel. Dan himself has a wry sense of humour so his narration of the story is often quite funny. The characters are wonderfully real and both home life and school days are well drawn. Bullying, divorce, and relationships (both family ones and burgeoning friendships) all come under the microscope – but always with a generous dash of humour. His mother’s efforts at developing a new business from home are particularly amusing. Whilst Dan sometimes makes a mess of things – especially where the girl next door is concerned – at heart he really has good intentions … so we tend to be on his side (especially as his telling of the story is so often laced with humour).
A wonderfully enjoyable novel that both boys and girls are sure to enjoy.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****