Plot: Sherman Mack loves the ladies though he has yet to find out exactly how to get them to like him back. After starting at Harewood Tech he falls for Dini Trioli, a beautiful, artistic, older girl. But when she starts dating Lester “the Molester” Broadside, Sherman worries (and not just because he missed his chance). Harewood Tech has a disturbing tradition called defiling: chosen girls are bullied and then ignored by the entire school body. No one knows who is responsible but the last girl to be D-listed was Lester’s ex-girlfriend. As a lover of all girls, Mack decides to get to the bottom of this cruel tradition and maybe impress the girl he likes.
This is a really fun book. Sherman is a funny narrator with a quirky view of life. He is a bit of a horn dog – and will admit to it – but that doesn’t make him any less likable. Perhaps this is because he appreciates the many varied (in personality and in shape) and complex women that inhabit Juby’s world from his burlesque dancing mother to his voluptuous, mystery loving friend Vanessa.
Sherman is, however, a completely incompetent investigator. Which is kind of the point, really. His failed attempts at surveillance and investigation are hilarious. But if you are simply in the mood for a mystery, this is probably not the book you want. In fact, if you like following clues and finding the culprit, you might be a bit disappointed in the denouement.
That is not to say that it is a bad ending. It is as funny and unique as the rest of the book. It is an ending full of love, justice and fine cuisine. Juby addresses serious issues – bullying and double standards – in a way that is very easy to approach but without making light of them.
Also check out Juby’s Another Kind of Cowboy, about a young, gay dressage enthusiast, and Alice, I Think which is currently sitting on my to read pile. All her books are fun and readable.
Challenges: Canadian Ya Challenge (4), The Into the Old World Challenge (12)