Sunday, 24 June 2012

For Pete’s Sake



 For Pete's Sake by Margaret Pearce
 by Margaret Pearce (Astraea Press)
E-book RRP $2.99 USD
ISBN: 9781936852499
Reviewed by Jo Wishart

Simone Henderby is fourteen; she works part-time at the local animal shelter and is given to the occasional crush on a cute boy. When she meets Pete the puppy, destined for ‘death row’, she falls in love and impulsively buys him. This lands Simone with a multitude of problems, ranging from her mum’s allergies to the fact that she’s just been fired and needs money to feed the hungry pup.

With help from her friends, Simone fakes her age to get a new job but it’s not long until her sham unravels. Dog lovers should enjoy the doggy friendship but Simone’s human love interests and problems with family and friends do take over the latter half of the book. Given this, For Pete’s Sake could be considered a transition book from animal stories into teen romance.

Pearce has captured the characteristics of certain dog breeds with affection – readers will recognise and be charmed by them. She has also created a varied and likeable cast of characters and placed them into novel settings. Despite feeling rushed at times and the occasional questionable expression or word choice, Simone and her friends’ youthful exuberance is well realised as are the onerous responsibilities that can come with a dog like Pete.

There are plenty of animal antics to get readers giggling and the more serious relationship stuff is handled with decorum. When Simone starts dating the boy we just know is wrong for her, the tension urges the reader on. With themes centering on friendship, authenticity and image, and a level of characterisation suitable for the target audience, For Pete’s Sake should please those looking for a light-hearted, upper-middle-grade read.

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