What’s it all about?:
The brilliantly funny and cringe-worthy secret blog of 14-year-old Joe Cowley (wannabe comic artist and self-confessed repeller of girls):
Sunday 1st January
So here’s the thing. I’ve decided to start writing a blog. A private one. The idea is that it’ll help me sort my life out, because quite frankly, it can’t get much worse . . .
· I gained the nickname Puke Skywalker after vomiting over Louise Bentley on the waltzer.
· I am subjected to daily wedgies by my arch-enemy Gav James.
· My so-called best mates are trying to get me killed in a bid to win £250 on You’ve Been Framed.
This cannot go on. I have to do something, or I’ll end up like Mad Morris down the park who thinks he’s Jesus. By the end of next term, I’m going to be a completely different person.
At least, that’s the theory…
What did I think?:
Many thanks to the children’s publishers at Oxford University Press for giving me the opportunity to read this quirky and amusing young adult novel by Ben Davis. After reading it, I immediately thought that it was the Adrian Mole for the new generation and one of my favourite things about the book was the cute comic strip illustrations and photographic images that made Joe’s blog entries even more interesting and fun to read. Joe Cowley is your typical fourteen year old teenager. He loves Star Trek, is both curious and terrified of the opposite sex – actually describing himself as a “repeller” after an unfortunate incident with a girl on a waltzer ride. He has dreams of becoming a comic strip artist, is harassed by the school bully Gav James on a daily basis and is still trying to deal with his parents recent divorce. Living with his mother, it is then not particularly easy when his mum moves in her new boyfriend and another familiar face that is going to be hell for him to deal with. As Joe tells the reader of his “catalogue of misery,” he decides on a more positive outlook. He is going to start a private blog to help him deal with his feelings (NOT a diary, as diaries are for girls in his words), he is going to get Gav back for everything he has put him through and finally he is going to kiss a girl. A real, live one.
As the blog entries continue, it looks like Joe might get one of his wishes as he manages to attract his ultimate girl crush Lisa Hall, who unfortunately is also the ex-girlfriend of the bully Gav James. You can almost sense the drama that is going to unfold! Lisa however, does not seem to be as invested in the relationship as poor Joe is. In fact, she only seems to want to be with Joe when Gav is around…hmm… slightly suspicious? Then Joe meets another girl, Natalie, another Star Trek devotee, but she tends to dress a bit differently and doesn’t really fit within the “popular” crowd. Joe is quite torn as although Natalie seems to genuinely like him and they share the same interests, being with Lisa actually makes him popular, something which is quite new and exciting to him. He is even at risk of losing his two loyal best friends, Harry and Ad as he attempts to change himself into the person Lisa expects him to be.
The rest of the book throws up some very funny, heart-warming and intensely cringe-worthy incidents that many teenagers will be able to identify with. My favourite parts included Operation Scooby-Doo which was absolutely hilarious and the drama caused by the computerised baby Adwina which Joe has to look after in a school project. This book is seriously funny and the illustrations are a fantastic addition but I think this book also holds some strong messages about family, friendship and growing up that many teenagers would relate to and appreciate. As a character, I think Joe learns a lot about life in general, and I’d love there to be a sequel just to see what he gets up to next!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):