AUTHOR = BARRY JONSBERG
GENRE = FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, GROWING UP
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-9
This is a very funny novel – in fact, don’t read it on the train (or bus) if you don’t like to laugh out loud in public! Candice is a rather unusual little girl trying to survive in the face of family dysfunction and her own rather special way of relating to the world. There is no doubt that Candice’s family has good cause to be dysfunctional: faced with the death of a baby sister and a mother’s breast cancer, it is understandable that they are all struggling to deal with each other, let alone the world beyond their family.
But Candice has decided that this needs to stop and she is determined to bring change about – even if it results in some very comical scenes, some very witty dialogue and at least 2 ambulances! What makes the story even more engaging is that it is told (as the title suggests) in alphabetical order – for a school assignment. As Candice seems incapable of telling other than the absolute truth (even if she sometimes has to use notes to do so) the result is both entertaining and clever!
Candice may or may not be “special needs” (as one of her classmates has labelled her) but she is certainly refreshingly honest and determined. Her growing friendship with Douglas Benson (who is apparently from another dimension) is equally delightful and candidly portrayed.
Highly Recommended (dma) ****