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By Fiona Wood
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Curriculum Subjects: Family / Alternative Family; Social Issues / Adolescence; People & Places / Australia & Oceania
Grade: 7 & up
Read author interview
1. Kiss Estelle.
2. Get a job.
3. Cheer my mother up.
4. Try not to be a complete nerd/loser.
5. Talk to my father when he calls.
6. Figure out how to be good.
Nerd-boy Dan Cereill is not quite coping with a whole heap of problems, including a reversal of family fortune, moving, new-school hell, a mother with a failing wedding cake business, a just-out gay dad, and a massive crush on Estelle, the girl next door. His life is a mess, but for now he’s narrowed it down to just six impossible things….
In this charming story of one guy’s efforts to get it together when his life is falling apart, award-winning author Fiona Wood introduces an irresistible voice and a delightfully awkward character who is impossible to forget.
★ “Told in Dan’s voice, the narrative reveals a young man whose sardonic view of himself and those around him provides an amused but angst-filled tone. There is situational humor, as well, in cinematic-like scenes, particularly in the classroom… Imagery is another of this novel’s strengths. Dan expresses his outsider status as being like a lemon rolling down an apple chute… The story’s charming and unique characters really carry the day. Readers will care about the teens who struggle to come of age.” —Voices of Youth Advocates
“Australian author Wood has created a pitch-perfect teen voice in Dan’s first-person narrative. He’s by turns sorrowful, impulsive, caring, and funny, with occasionally brilliant turns of phrase: “I feel like a lemon rolling down the apple chute.” It’s refreshing to see a romance from a teen boy’s perspective, and Dan is a Romeo to root for.” —Booklist
“With sensitivity and humor, Wood traces the roller-coaster life of a boy in the midst of significant upheaval. Dan’s honesty, smarts, and earnest efforts to do good may not earn him any popularity points at school, but they will win readers’ affection and admiration.” —Publishers Weekly
“School dances, first dates, and sneaking out are just some of the high school hijinks that are humorously depicted with a fresh perspective…Snappy dialogue, charming characters, even pacing, and poignant sentence-level writing make this offering a must-have.” —School Library Journal