Saturday 23 February 2013

Bad Grammar

Bad Grammar by Nathan Luff (Walker Books)
PB RRP $ 16.95
ISBN 9781921977862
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Bad Grammar is what Bourkley Boys Grammar is called. It’s the last resort for boys who don’t fit in. Situated in the remote outback, it has hammocks and dirt floors, no privacy and bad food. That’s where Marcus gets sent.

Marcus is a computer games addict; a loner not interested in school. He has made no new friends since his mate Bashir left for India, and is totally indifferent to everything. He’s an only child whose parents spend little time with him. He has created a world of his own in which he is a dragon-slayer; a warrior with a Warrior’s Guide to every problem.

But his parents have had enough. So he travels to Bad Grammar with other misfits. There it is hell on earth as the three prefects make sure life is a misery for all the boys. Scarface takes particular interest in making Marcus suffer, especially after he has stolen his memory stick containing everything worthwhile on it. He uses this to blackmail Marcus into doing every humiliating thing he orders.

But he is befriended by oversized Trent who is there to lose weight, and is also Fred’s best friend. Fred’s non- stop talk drives Marcus crazy, but the three soon become close. They try to find a way to retrieve Marcus’ memory stick and support him in his attempts to escape, which leads them into all sorts of trouble and additional punishment.

It’s when mutiny is initiated by Scarface that things somersault. Secrets, mysteries and truths are finally revealed about Bad Grammar and the adults who run it.

This is a fast-paced book in every way. Things are happening continually in rapid sequence, through the dialogue, with the characters and within the descriptions. The story is full of craziness and unbelievable events. But it’s entertaining, ridiculous and well-written, and keeps the reader turning the pages. This is suitable for age 9+.

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