Friday 24 August 2012

237. The Beginners Guide to Revenge by Marianne Musgrove

The Beginners Guide To Revenge by Marianne Musgrove
Published August 2012 Random House (Woolshed Press)

From the publisher:

As a soldier's daughter, Romola's been to six schools in eight years, always having to make new friends ... and now enemies. Meanwhile, Sebastian's mum is about to make the biggest mistake of their lives, unless Sebastian can find his dad in time to stop her. Thrown together by chance, these two thirteen-year-olds set out to even the score. But once that big old ball of revenge starts rolling down the hill, there's not an awful lot they can do to stop it ... or is there?

Here is another book told in alternate chapters.  There’s 13 year old Romola, whose father is a soldier, currently fighting in the Middle East and 13 year old Sebastian whose parents are separated and he hasn’t seen his Dad in 18 months.  Romola, as the daughter of a soldier, has moved around a lot, she has been to six schools in eight years, and she has trouble making friends.  She wants friends, but she has little problem that means she can only be herself, and sometimes ‘being herself’ is too much for other people to take.

Sebastian has just found out that his Mum is getting married again, to Marshall, a man who he doesn’t like.  Too make matters worse, Sebastian has to go to Canberra and spend 10 days with Marshall, it’s here that he starts to plan a way to get to Roxby Downs, so that he can find his Dad and move in with him. Romola has just had a disagreement with her new group of friends when she meets Sebastian.

Revenge is in the title, and revenge is what Romola and Sebastian have on their mind.  Sebastian to get back at Marshall because he thinks he is keeping him away from his Dad.  Romola because she has just taken all the meanness she can from Riley and she has the perfect way to get her own back.  When Sebastian does something mean to Marshall, he starts to feel bad almost straight away, and he realises that getting revenge doesn’t make him feel as satisfied as he had hoped.  His job then is to convince Romola that revenge isn’t the answer.

It’s a good story that looks at issues children have to deal with, bullying, divorce, absent parents.  It’s also about growing up, taking responsibility for our actions and in the case of Sebastian coming to terms with the person his Dad really is, instead of the person he wanted him to be.

Who will like this book: Girls age 11+
Read it if you like: 

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