Weird by Jeremy Strong
|Weird by Jeremy Strong|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Hugely funny story of two seemingly mismatched fourteen year-olds sent on work experience at an old people's home. It's funny, true and deceptively easy to read. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: August 2008|
|Publisher: Puffin Books|
Fizz is madly in love with Josh but Josh doesn't know she exists. Fizz blames her Stone Age parents and their refusal to allow to a) have contact lenses, b) change her brace to a trendy colour, and c) get a boob job. It's all so completely unfair. Josh isn't madly in love with anyone but he does have the adolescent hots for Fizz's older sister Lauren. Josh is more worried about his mother than his love life though. She takes in hordes of unwanted animals that clutter up the house, have sex on his bed, and break his precious rocket prototypes.
So when they're thrown together at an old people's home for work experience week, Fizz and Josh have entirely different expectations. Still, they do say the course of true love never runs smooth and for this mismatched couple the road is even rockier than most. A week of disappearing spoons, rampant goats, even more rampant octogenarian flashers, and escape tunnels isn't your usual courtship, but it's the best Fizz and Josh are going to get.
Oh good lord, Weird did make me laugh. Poor Fizz, stuck with parents who Just Don't Understand. While her sister Lauren swans around in a bikini and Josh ogles through the window, Fizz is left arguing with old fossils who are as far removed from her trauma as it's possible to be (they are, of course, rather sterling parents doing a great job). Poor Josh, stuck with an urban hippy mother who is the laughing stock of the street. Even his father has decamped to a tidier flat on his own while Josh is left with escaping livestock and a parent who seems to be helping anyone and everyone except him (she is, of course, also doing a great job).
In fact, all the adults are rather spiffing and it's only the two self-centred adolescents who can't see it. Matron and Major at the old people's home aren't cruel tyrants. The old people aren't just sitting there, waiting to die. Their parents aren't cruel or neglectful. Realising this is a natural and inevitable part of growing up and Strong show us this through some wonderful situational humour and on-the-button dialogue. Fizz's sibling rivalry poem about her beautiful, sexy, bitchy sister Lauren sums up the book's zeitgeist perfectly:
Lauren - I hate you.
It might need a bit more work but the main thrust is there.
Fizz and Josh are tremendously sympathetic characters too, and you find yourself really rooting for them to hurry up and get it on together. I won't spoil it and tell you whether or not they do.
Perfect for tweens and early teens, this one comes recommended by Bookbag.
My thanks to the nice people at Puffin for sending the book.
If they enjoyed the humour in Weird they might also enjoy Someday Angeline by Louis Sachar about another pair of oddly matched friends.
You can read more book reviews or buy Weird by Jeremy Strong at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Weird by Jeremy Strong at Amazon.com.
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