Homeroom Diaries by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou.
I often hear teachers and librarians say much is written for reluctant boy readers what about reluctant girl readers. James patterson writes much for reluctant boys and now he has taken on the girls in liaison with Lisa Papadementriou who enables him to get the female teenage voice right.
Margaret “cuckoo” Clarke is at high school but has a hard row to hoe in life stakes. Her mother is flaky which is ok if you’re a piecrust but not so good if you are responsible for another human being. Her mother had bad taste in men and often left Cuckoo alone at home without support for days on end.
When she disappeared for more than two weeks Cuckoo broke down and was taken to what she calls “crazytown”. She is in a mental institution and presents a very sympathetic picture of what it was like in there.
When she comes out she goes back to school and mixes with kids that she nicknames the “freakshow”. The kids are all brilliant and innovative and Cuckoo is not an unhappy girl in fact she is amazingly upbeat. She comments when a rich boy takes her out and asks why she mixes with her freaky friends. She replies “everybodys’ weird once you get to know them”.
This is what I like about the novel. It is crazy yet perceptive and at times enormously funny.
Every other page of this novel carries illustrations that picture the characters and what is going on. They are accompanied with comments that will make you laugh and cry.
Easy to read, with a portrait of American High school life that takes the water. Reluctant girls will love this even boys if they are brave enough. I was.