Nick Earls is the author of twenty books, including the bestselling novels Zigzag Street, Bachelor Kisses, Perfect Skin and World of Chickens. His work has been published internationally in English and in translation, and has won awards in the UK and Australia. Five of his novels have been adapted into plays and two into feature films. He was the founding chair of the Australian arm of the international aid agency War Child and is now a War Child ambassador.
Gr 8 Up-Joel and Cat could not be more dissimilar. Furthermore, they don't like each other and haven't had much to do with one another since Cat caught Joel with another girl when he was supposed to be dating Cat's best friend. Joel and Cat are forced to work together on a school assignment to write a tandem story. Their dislike of each other becomes more apparent with time. They are both dismayed by the other's writing style and topic choice. Cat leans toward a Victorian-esque feel, whereas Joel prefers spies and dramatic action. The competition is fierce as they clash again and again, each trying to seize control of the tale and making it more and more personal. To make matters worse, both Joel and Cat have family problems that become an entangled mess when Joel's mother and Cat's father begin dating. Australian authors Nick Earle and Rebecca Sparrow narrate their story (Penguin, pap. 2007), bringing the characters' personalities to life with believable dialogue. The razor sharp, witty, sarcastic exchanges between them are hilarious, as are their thoughts and reactions. The tension between them sizzles. As their story winds to an end, Joel and Cat learn a few things about themselves and each other.-Mary Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.