If you are looking for a new Middle Grade series to make you smile, if you are looking for a GREAT book to read out loud at bedtime ... let me introduce you to Emily Sparkes.
Emily Sparkes and the Friendship Fiasco is the latest novel from Ruth Fitzgerald. That Emily had me laughing out loud. More than a few times. I may, or may not have been in public, and I may, or may not, have received some strange looks. I just pointed to the book!
Emily is navigating her way through Year 6. She is a plucky yet fallible character, she makes mistakes and she has some brilliant opinions! She has cracking one-liners, making this great fun to read out loud.
'Old people never really say what they mean, they talk in code - bit like teenagers'
The novel is written from Emily's point of view. The pages are adorned with illustrations from Allison Cole - think washi tape & cute animals - the diary format of the narrative and illustrations help to create quite a bond with this unique character.
So what has Emily been up to? Her best friend has just moved to Wales, leaving a sad empty seat next to Emily's. The Tudor trip is coming up very soon, & Emily simply must come up with her own partner to avoid Gavin 'the most gross-tastic boy in class'. When the new girl Chloe arrives, Emily simply must befriend her before Zuzanna. Not only that, but Emily's mum has just had a baby and is a 'bit stressy at the moment.' Emily is incredulous that they STILL haven't thought of a name yet ('I call her Yoda') ... and lives in fear that the police will catch up with them after the 2 week deadline, 'Its getting desperate.'
Observations of class members, teachers are brilliantly negotiated in to the narrative,
'Mr Meakin never looks pleased. Unlike Mrs Lovetofts, he has learned the proper facial expressions to get on in teaching.'
Meanwhile Emily must navigate a potential new friendship. How much must she suppress of her own views in order to ensure Chloe is the one she sits next to on the coach trip? Chloe isn't all that she seems, and as Zuzanna & Emily compete for the friendship they both miss some vital clues.
Friendship, family, school trips and bundles of humour make this a middle grade series I whole heartedly recommend. However, I simply must finish with some words of wisdom from Emily herself,
'It is impossible to think when you are eating carrot sticks, they make too much noise.'
... and the best news. This is book one in the series, three more are due for release during the remainder of 2015. Just perfect.