Friday 21 September 2012

265. Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks by Ellie Phillips

Dads, Geeks and Blue Haired Freaks by Ellie Phillips
Published September 2012 Hardie Grant (Electric Monkey)

From the publisher:
This title deals with one girl's search to find her father, using the Internet, some boys and quite a lot of hairspray. Sadie Nathanson spends her life trying to survive the excruciating embarrassment of simply existing. It's hard enough being a bit of a shrinking violet within a loud and outspoken extended family, but the unexpected card from 'Dad' on her 15th birthday is the last straw. As 'Dad' was an Internet sperm-donor, it doesn't take a genius to work out that this is a bad joke.

Think, Mamma Mia. If Mamma Mia were set in London, and there was no singing, but a lot of fancy hairstyles instead.  After receiving a birthday card form her Dad, Sadie decides it is time she finds out who this sperm donor actually is.  She knows the card wasn’t really from her Dad, most likely it was just a mean trick by her ex-best friend Shonna, but it is just the push she needs to begin her crusade.

Now that she has no best friend, she turns to her cousin Billy, and his friend (the very cute) Tony for help.  This involves hacking into a dinosaur of a computer, finding the names of three possible donors, doing a bit of undercover work that involves making an appointment with a plastic surgeon and posing as an entertainment reporter.  As well as all of the father hunting, Sadie has to deal with the horrible Shonna and her new best friend Imelda.

The depiction of the bullying Sadie faces feels quite believable to me.  It’s that horrible sneaky girl kind, where the occasional nasty comment may be thrown out, but the majority of it is whispers behind Sadie’s back, being ignored and generally being made to feel small and worthless.  There does come a point where Sadie simply has enough, and while a cat fight in the classroom may not be the recommended way to deal with bullies, it seems to work for Sadie.  Using menu items from a Filipino menu as swear words, which sound scary, but actually might mean a hot dog and fires, also helped to put the fear of God into Shonna.

On the whole, this book has a little of everything.  It’s pretty funny, it has drama (of the school yard kind, and the family kind) romance and at the beginning of each chapter, instructions for a new hair do…what more could a girl want.  Librarians will be happy to note that there is also one very nice and 'kind of cool' school librarian character who helps Sadie on her quest.

Who will like this book: Girls age 14+
Read it if you like: Mamma Mia

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