Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Jolted by Arthur Slade

The Starker family is infamous. They’ve been chronicled on blogs, profiled on TV and researched by paranormal investigators. They appear to be cursed: everyone of Starker blood has died after being struck by lightning. Fourteen-year-old Newton Starker is the last of his line—except for his great-grandmother, Enid, a woman as friendly as a pickled wolverine—and he’s determined to survive.

Newton has spent all of his life surviving, following a list of rules for self-preservation, guidelines passed down through generations of Starkers. But Newton wants to try something new. He has enrolled at Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival in Moose Jaw with the hope that he’ll be able to beat the odds—he has a dream of becoming a great chef someday. If he wants to go beyond just getting by, Newton is going to need more than rules. He’s going to need friends.

From the creative mind of award-winning writer Arthur Slade—author of Dust, Tribes and Megiddo’s Shadow—comes a quirky, laugh-out-loud story about dreaming big, standing out and knowing when you need help.
Rachel over at a Fair Substitute for Heaven wrote a FANTASTIC review of this book, so, it of course moved onto my RADAR. Then, it just so happened that Harper Collins was willing to give me an Advanced Reading copy of the book, so I quickly said yes! I am very glad that I did. I read it yesterday in one sitting and it was a really entertaining read! I enjoyed how it crossed several genres, it is nice to get outside the comfort zone once in a while. Best thing of all? He's Canadian, so he is one of my own (who I had never even heard of before, but I don't read a lot of young adult fiction).

Moving on. The main character in this book is Newton Starker. He comes from a family who attracts lightening strikes. This means that he has to follow very strict rules about how he lives his life. He is technically the second-last surviving Starker because he great-grandmother Enid is still alive, and what a character she is! Let's just say there is one scene where she gets her great-grandson to wheel her outside so she can watch the men playing lawn hockey. Why, you might ask? Because apparently some of them still have very nice backsides! This woman is over a hundred, so I am sorry, you can't help laughing at that! The poor boy, though, I am sure the last thing a 14-year-old wants to think about his old men and their backsides.

It is not a long book, and it is young adult fiction, but it's hilarious and refreshing. You cannot help getting swept away by the characters and Newton's time at Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival. The students are forced to wear kilts. Not because Jerry Potts wore them, but because he was part-Scottish. Waring a kilt is quite complicated, though, as Newton comes to learn!

My favourite character of all, though, was Josephine! Her timing was perfect in every scene and you just couldn't help laughing at her interactions with Newton. Oh, and I probably should mention, Josephine is a truffle-finding pig. She was a perfect addition to the cast of characters! Anyway, I really enjoyed this book, and I will hopefully read some of the back-list by him in the future. People should read this book!

This book can also count for the 2nd Canadian Challenge, Eh? I think I might be done.... I will have to go count!

Thanks to Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this book!

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  1. you are cheating yourself if you do not read Megiddo's Shadow!

    A completely different novel ( testament to Slade's range )

    the only YA novel I know of that is set in the Great War.

    The first half is set in Saskatchewan and England respectively and then the second half in the Palestinian regions in a sweeping Lawrence of Arabia type saga.

    Slade is the definitive YA novelist and I am so glad he is Canadian.

  2. And if Rachel said it was great, then you KNOW it was great. I just finished Megiddo's Shadow, so I'll second that you must read it. It's fabulous! One of the best historical fiction I've ever read - no word of a lie. I'm definitely going to be reading more Slade, and I hope that you will be too. Such talent!

  3. Also, try reading Dust. It's more of a speculative fiction as well, also YA and I really liked it.

  4. Thanks ladies! I always get gift cards for Christmas and I will make sure that these two books are two of the books I purchase!

  5. I second the Dust vote.

    It's like W.O. Mitchell meets Ray Bradbury ( if that makes sense )

    you will like the sci fi aspect.

  6. Yes, I like sci-fi. I think there is going to be the sci-fi experience in the new year again, so that would be a good book for it. :)

  7. Congrats on finishing (and with months to spare!) Hope to see you for the 3rd!


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