Review Blog

Jun 24 2014

Don't kiss girls : and other silly stories by Pat Flynn

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University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702253300.
Recommended for 9-14 year olds. Pat Flynn has used his knowledge and observations of young people and the school environment, gained as a teacher, to advantage in this story. The characters would be genuinely recognisable in any year 8 population.
Tony Ross is dead! Fortunately he had the good sense to record stories about his life before he died and an angel called Angel passed the voice recorder on to the random stranger he met on the bus one day. Thus we are introduced to the hilarious stories of the life of thirteen year old Tony.
On reflection, Tony realises that whatever he attempts usually ends in trouble. His ambition to be as good as his best mate, and biggest rival, Kane leads him into all sorts of escapades from cheating at cricket to auditioning for a role in the school musical. Winning the lead role, despite not being able to sing requires some ingenuity, but the thought of kissing Ashleigh as part of the performance drives him on.
As Tony relates his experiences we learn how not to approach work experience and that acting as a golf caddy is a serious business. The on again, off again nature of his relationship with Ashleigh, his money making schemes and sibling rivalry all lead to trouble. With typical schoolboy enthusiasm and unwavering self belief Tony manages to find a way out of each predicament. That is until his last night when kissing Ashleigh was not such a good idea.
The lists which intersperse the stories like Funniest Things Teachers have Yelled at Me and Favourite Excuses for Forgetting My homework add to the enjoyment of the text which can be read like a series of short stories, though the imperative to find out how Tony dies keeps the reader focussed.
I look forward to meeting Tony in his next incarnation, assuming that Angel, the angel, is right.
Sue Keane

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