Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's Not All About YOU, Calma!

It's Not All About YOU, Calma! is Barry Jonsberg's follow up to his successful young adult novel, Kiffo and the Pitbull and is just as entertaining and fun. Jonsberg has a talent for getting inside the head of his young female narrator, Calma Harrison, and it is the strong narrative voice that makes both novels so good. Calma is a self-confessed 'unreliable narrator', a fantastically opinionated girl who is forced in the course of the novel to confront some of her perceptions of the people around her. Calma has grown up a bit since Kiffo and the Pitbull- she now has a love interest and a minimum wage job at the local budget supermarket. She also has her dad to contend with; he's back on the scene after abandoning Calma and her mum several years earlier.

Jonsberg creates a strong sense of place in the novel, at times I could almost feel the steamy heat of Darwin as I read. He also writes very well about school and teachers, particularly English teachers, a result of his own teaching background. I'm not a big fan of comic novels (more on that in a future post), but Jonsberg bases his humour in believable characters and situations and I actually laughed out loud once or twice while reading this. I am looking forward to the next book in the 'Calma' series...

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