Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review: Getting the Girl

Getting the Girl: a guide to private investigation, surveillance, and cookery by Susan Juby
3.5 stars

Reasons for reading: I love Juby's Alice books; March author birthday for the Four Month Challenge; Young Adult Challenge

From the publisher:
"Sunglasses. Check.
Binoculars. Check.
Notepad. Check.
Mom's pink bike. Check. Check?

Meet Sherman Mack. Short. Nerdy. Amateur P.I. and prepared to do anything for Dini Trioli.
Nobody knows who began it or when it became a tradition, but every girl at Harewood Tech fears being D-listed, a ritual that wipes her off the social map forever. When Sherman believes Dini is in danger of being D-listed, he snatches up his surveillance gear and launches a full-scale investigation to uncover who is responsible.

Could it be the captain of the lacrosse team?
The hottest girls in school, the Trophy Wives?
Or maybe their boyfriends?

One thing is for sure: Sherman Mack is on the case. And he's not giving up."

My thoughts: While not as laugh-out-loud hilarious as the Alice books, Getting the Girl has some great humour. It's also a great story of one person deciding to stand up for what's right. And there's a bit of mystery thrown in there, too. At first I thought I was going to hate wanna-be ladies' man Sherman, but he's pretty endearing. He has a lot to deal with - his hot, young single mom is burlesque dancer and they survive mainly on toast; he has a growing attraction to his friend Vanessa, although he'd be happy with just about any girl, if only they'd respond to his charms; and now he's become an amateur sleuth in order to save more girls from getting Defiled.

I thought the funniest parts were Sherman's attempts at surveillance (particularly involving a mason jar for long stakeouts) and his cooking class misadventures with a home ec teacher who is both ridiculously perky and ridiculously hardcore about the world of professional cooking (that would be Cafeteria class). Sherman's odd but loyal friends and his adult mentor/neighbour add to the mix, bailing Sherman out - most of the time. The book culminates in a hilarious dinner party thrown by Sherman and if the conclusion feels a bit like the end of a Scooby Doo episode, I applaud Sherman for wanting to stop the cruel tradition of defiling, all while pursuing his interest in both cooking and women.

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