Saturday 22 December 2007

America's Report Card by John McNally

arcard.jpgPublished by Free Press - An Imprint of Simon & Schuster

Meet Janie. Janie was a pretty normal student with good grades and a great attitude. Now she finds herself sporting green and purple hair, skipping school and trying not to think about why her brother spends so much time hiding in the attic. She also has to deal with the suicide of one of her favourite teachers, a teacher who left her a mysterious letter.

Charlie and Petra are in love. Petra is Russian and simply oozes sex appeal. Charlie is average. Both decide to get a job with the National Testing Centre to tide them over the summer. They can’t help but wonder why their co-workers include homeless people and drunks. One day while marking essays, Charlie discovers an essay written by a young girl who claims that her teacher was killed and the people responsible are now in pursuit of her. Charlie doesn't know quite what to make of it but since Petra seems to have vanished and nothing else is holding him back, he transfers so that he can investigate.

What follows next is an unforgettable adventure containing the main characters plus many other colourful additions such as a female hypnotist who is a nymphomaniac and an ex soldier who believes he is the next Son of God.

This book was an amusing read for me. I was chuckling to myself early in the book and I loved that the author has a great talent for weaving tales. I found myself constantly trying to fill in the blanks while the author seemed to tease by sprinkling hints throughout.

The characters are well written, memorable and easy to connect with. I don’t honestly think there was even one that I didn’t care about in some way. The plot is equally well done, thought provoking and energetic. I would love to see more teens reading this one but given some of the controversial content it’s not likely to happen. If you haven’t read this one yet, please do. I wish I hadn’t left it unread on my shelf for so long.

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