Too Clever by half by Aaron Moffat. Olympia Publishers, 2016.
I enjoyed reading this school story for middle and intermediate students because it dealt with a lot of social and economic issues that reflect the equalities and inequalities of today’s society. Plus it would be a great read-a-loud for years 5/6, 7/8 students.
Septimus is a bright boy, top of his class, a little out of condition, well nourished but with a father who is of the born to rule class who looks down on Septimus’s class mates whom he labels riff raff.
Septimus is bullied at school until there is a split in the ranks amongst the alleged riff raff. The nasty Jasper and Rico think Jamie has snitched on them, so he is pushed to the outer and develops a friendship with Septimus. This relationship is awkward at first because Jamie is a foster child but Septimus is glad of the company.
Difficulties arise when Septimus’s father meets Jamie and becomes determined to take Septimus out of school and put him in a Private school where he can mix with children of his own class. Septimus’s mother takes the opposite point of view and this conflict is one of the key sub plots within this novel.
Trouble with a neighbour who is reported to be a witch and a broken window polarise positions within Septimus’s family. Then the school enters the Krypton Kids TV competition with Septimus, Rico and a saucy young girl called Antonia entered.
You will have to read the rest yourself if you want to know what happens.
Well written but the chapters may be a bit long at times. I call it lofty writing with all the social differences well argued. Some may be deterred by this but the school matters will be familiar to all students.
Interested parties can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus is a computer game warrior. He is very good and spends hours playing on line but he has no friends and his parents are worried about him and his social development. They decide to send him to a private school out in the country where there are no computers.
The school proves to be nothing like anybody would think. The staff and the Principal are weird and leave discipline to selected prefects who rule by bullying and intimidation. Head bully is Scarface who is big mean with a neck thicker than most boys are wide.
Marcus gets hammered first day and has his flash drive, on which he has stored all his gaming information, taken by Scarface. He does make a couple of friends but has to apply the skills he has learned as an on-line warrior to survive at school.
Very funny and exciting with a message that you need friends and if bullies are to be beaten you have to confront the problem head on preferably when the odds are in your favour.
The novel is written in Levels rather than chapters and some of the action is comically absurd yet meaningful. I enjoyed this story which has hooks at the end of each chapter to help the most reluctant of boys want to keep reading.
Primary and Intermediate in appeal.
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