01 December 2010

All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall

All Shook Up
I found out about this book through our son, Matthew. This book is proposed for the Rebecca Caudill Young Reader's Award for 2011. Matthew's school gave a presentation to fourth graders highlighting some of the proposed titles of the Caudill Award for this year. ALL SHOOK UP is one of the books that interested him.

Josh Greenwood is a 13 year old boy who lives in Boston with his mom. When Josh's mom's mother falls and injures herself badly he learns that he must visit his dad for an extended time. His grandma lives in Florida and his mom is going to have to visit there to assist her with her recuperation. Josh's dad lives in Chicago which means that Josh will have to sign up to attend school there, away from all of his friends.

Upon arriving in Chicago it isn't long before Josh finds out that the shoe store his dad worked for has gone out of business and his dad is now making money doing gigs...singing as Elvis. Now, while this might sound pretty cool to some adults, Josh is extremely embarrassed at even the thought of it.

While living in Chicago Josh meets his dad's new girlfriend Viv, and her daughter, Ivory, as well as an elderly neighbor who is making his dad's Elvis-scarves for his stage shows.

The story is told through the eyes of a 13 year old. It's not deep, but it does remind one of how simple the viewpoint of a young teen can be. That said, there is a bit of character growth by the end of the book. I actually thought the book might be a bit more exciting than it was. The story does see Josh make a pretty bad decision that affected his dad worse than his dad's actions were affecting him. There is some resolution to that situation though and it certainly provides a point for discussion with younger readers. One interesting point occurs when Halloween sneaks up on them and they are not prepared; this finds Josh scrambling for a costume and he spends a bit of time wearing some of his dad's Elvis clothing. After doing so he finds that he actually had a bit of fun with it and begins to see things from his dad's side a bit more.

My son doesn't know that I have read the book. I bought the ebook for my NOOK. I also bought a hardcover version for him for Christmas. I think he will really enjoy the book and he'll be surprised to hear that Mom has already read it. If he saves enough to buy a NOOK (he received a gift card for B&N for is birthday) he will be pleased to find that he can read the ebook too!

I am rating this book a 3.5 on a 5.0 scale.
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