Sunday 14 July 2013

Mucked Up

Mucked Up by Danny Katz (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $15.99
ISBN 978-1-74237-925-8
Reviewed by Ann Harth

It’s the worst day ever. It’s year-12 muck-up day. Tom Zurbo-Goldblatt and the rest of the school are targets for the mad seniors who are armed with eggs, baked bean goop, tomato sauce and anything else that splats when hurled. Worst of all is the Weapon of Mass Spray-Destruction filled with fish sauce.

Tom sneak-walks (snawks) through his day trying to survive his stint on yard duty, an assignment for I.T. called Me in 30 Seconds and the imminent break-up of the Students Combined Underground Movement (S.C.U.M.).

S.C.U.M. headquarters is smelly with fish sauce and Tom, Jarell, Jack S, Ravo, and Brisley are barely speaking to each other. Jarell and Jack S have hooked up and are too busy holding hands and staring at each other to notice anyone else. Ravo is dripping with everything the year twelves have to offer and smells like fish. Brisley, aka Milkbottle, has changed overnight - from pale goth to cute stunner and has joined the Hagz – The Hot Asian Girls. SCUM seems doomed.

Throw a greased pig into the mix and you will have a pretty clear idea of Mucked Up.

From the first invented word until the final giggle, I was captivated. Tom became my new best friend and I could hear his voice as if he were sitting on my shoulder. Each and every unique character made me smile when seen through the eyes of Tom Zurbo-Goldblatt.

Danny Katz’s first novel for teenagers, S.C.U.M., was a great success and I predict that Mucked Up will follow the same path. It will appeal to kids aged 12-16, but I am well beyond that and my grin was punctuated with belly laughs through the entire book.

Canadian-born Danny Katz made a name for himself in stand-up comedy in 1990 and is a columnist for The Syndey Morning Herald and The Age. He has written many children’s books: Spit the Dummy, Dork Geek Jew and also the Little Lunch series. Danny Katz’s style for teenagers is magnetic and unmistakeable.

Ann Harth is a published children's author and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, was released in 2012. 

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