I'm ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN, well pretty sure, probably about 99.7% sure, that I maybe, nearly, might actually get through High School like a normal person.
Follow the comedic horror of Tracy Lacy's discovery that her perfect plan for being normal is RUINED, and the hilarious list of things to 'fix' about herself, as she counts down the days to the start of HIGH SCHOOL! Is Tracy going to be able to overcome her 'completely coo-coo bananas'-ness?
Miss Ten decided she would like to review this book for me. She is a true bookworm, enjoying books of all genres; she is equally at home reading a graphic novel or a word-rich story with no pictures whatsoever. I found the layout and style of this book somewhat annoying because of the constant changes in font and frequency of the line drawings, but she seemed quite at home with this and had a good time exploring the story. She took four nights to finish reading it, but it did capture her attention, and she assured me each morning that she was enjoying what she had read so far.
She is a perceptive kid, however; she is in her last year at primary school and looking forward to starting at intermediate next year, so she was fascinated by Tracy's blueprint for successfully starting at her new high school. The transition from one level of schooling to the next can be a worrying time for any young person, so this theme will resonate with many readers who are entering the next stage of their school careers.
Tracy is simultaneously spending time being anxious about her future school and getting herself organised to cope with it. This involves making lists of survival techniques. Miss Ten, who is reasonably well organised, assured me that she would never be THAT bad; she copes well with changes, taking them in her stride. She also thought that Tracy was being too hard on herself as everyone needs to be bossy sometimes!
We were both intrigued by the fact that the author (Tania Lacy) has the same surname as her protagonist (Tracy Lacy) and wondered if there was a semi-autobiographical inspiration for the story. Miss Ten and I had a quick look on the internet but could find no references to the name similarity so maybe it was just coincidence. Then again, maybe not.
Danielle McDonald's illustrations were lots of fun; Miss Ten had only just had a birthday and one of her presents had been a 30-pack of colour pencils, so she put these to good use on some of the more detailed pictures. They looked quite smart when she leafed through the pages as they brought things to life; both of us admired the effect. I suspect this was one reason she took a full four days to read the book from start to finish as she is not a slow reader. Her older sister told her she should not be vandalising the book, but I said it was her book now. Besides, the pictures were tailor made for colouring!
As a teacher, I did have reservations about the unevenness of some of the language usage. In places it appeared that the text was written by a 12-year-old: slang, misspellings, and wry observations from the point of view of an almost-teenager were liberally included. However, there were also times when the style and associated comments appeared to be written more from the perspective of an adult who has been-there-done-that. Miss Ten was less critical than I was, although some of the big words annoyed her as she had to ask what they meant.
The themes of teenage uncertainties, the development of adolescent crushes, and the fear of being different from one's peers are all carefully woven into this story. Tracy epitomises every child's fears as he or she hatches from the baby chrysalid and stretches into a full-grown teenager complete with awkward limbs and acne. Miss Ten missed some of these subtleties, bur will no doubt pick up on them when she reads the book again in a few months' time. She has already assured me that she plans to read it a second time at some stage.
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