Review Blog

Mar 10 2009

Cruisin' by Brian Caswell

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Woolshed Press, 2008. ISBN 9781741663440, p/b, 149pp. (Age 12+) With an appealing teenage voice Brian Caswell invites us to share a holiday with Jules Macaffrey and his mother aboard The Polynesian Queen, destined to be a two week 'holiday cruise of a lifetime'. Jules recalls that his mother hastily bought raffle tickets, wrapped only in a towel when the Girls' Brigade called at the door, and promptly dumped the said tickets in a hallstand drawer which he likens to an 'archeological dig'. Reluctantly, Jules joins his mother, along with Aunt Pru and her 'weird son Adrian', to make up the winning four tickets for the 'ideal nuclear family'. Jules' father has long gone and his grandparents had already booked to see the Holy Land! On board Jules is prepared to share time with retired couples and spoilt juniors, but, in fact meets an interesting array of characters which make life at sea busy and challenging! He is besotted, at a distance, by Jenna Hamilton, glamorous and aloof. He is victimised by Barry Barnes, a kid just out to cause trouble. He is worried by the antics of his cousin Adrian. His only friend is Suzi, and she is trapped in a wheelchair. This cruise is going to be an interesting one! Brian Caswell creates a light and lively story around these unlikely cruisers! The conversations are fast and humorous; the situations are pieced together with plenty of action and coincidence. Largely Jules' story, each chapter is alternated between his and Suzi's viewpoint - this makes for a better understanding of character overall, and provides greater depth to a rather light-hearted but clever read. This will appeal to most teenagers and it is well written. Julie Wells

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