28 October, 2015

Book Review: Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight

From Goodreads: Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight is two weeks in the life of Joel Hedges and Cat Davis. Joel would prefer to get through his final year of high school without Cat Davis or his mother's faux Spanish boyfriend and just hang-out with his best-friend Luke. Cat Davis has an annoying best-friend, and even more annoying little brother, and a deep abiding hatred of Joel Hedges.
Due to an unfortunate incident involving a leaking pen and suspected outbreak of Bird Flu, Joel and Cat are forced to sit next to each other in Extension English. To make matters worse, and to their mutual horror, they are paired together for a tandem story writing assignment. 

Thoughts: A tandem story about a tandem story! I am in awe of anyone who can write a good tandem story. I've read books where it worked really well like Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens, Green and Levithan's Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I've seen disasters like Picoult and van Leer's Between the Lines. Earls and Sparrow I am glad to report pulled it off with great aplomb! Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight is what good quality young adult fiction should be. It's fun, interesting, thought provoking, has a little bit of angst and laugh out loud funny.
For me, any good YA does have a bit of a moral/ education to it. Maybe it's the mum in me, maybe it's the teacher, or maybe it's just that I like books that give you that little bit extra than just pure entertainment. The real skill is presenting that information without hitting teens over the head with it, because, lets face it, we can't teach them anything! (Oh to be back in that time when I knew EVERYTHING!) The message in Joel and Cat can be summed up beautifully in this meme

Things are not always what they seem. The person who seems to have it all in reality most probably doesn't. It takes nothing to be kind and non-judgmental. You may find out something you never knew.

Joel and Cat Set the Record Straight gets 4 stars

 *        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing