Plot: Two years ago Violet’s father left her mother for an actress. Since then, her mother has been dating a string of losers, each worse than the last. When things start to get serious with her new boyfriend, the unfortunately named Dudley Wiener, Violet knows that she has to do something. Spying, interrogation and pranks are no longer enough. She needs to find a man worthy of her mother and only one man fits the bill: George Clooney.
I think the title says it all. Even the cashier at this book store wanted to read the book after seeing the cover. ^_^
This is a fun, quick read about the grief caused by divorce. Hardly a new subject in middle grade fiction but Nielsen writes effectively and fills her world with interesting, well rounded characters. Nielsen could have, for example, made the step-parents as terrible as Violet expects them to be but Dudley and Jenneca turn out to be much better, more complex people than she gives them credit for at first. And that is without mentioning her sweet little sister Rosie, her mother and a host of other colourful characters. But of course, as we are delving into Violet’s psyche, she is the most developped of all.
Violet is awful. And like her best friend Phoebe, I mostly mean that as a compliment. She is not subtle and she takes out her pain at being abandonned by her father out on everyone around her (even if, like her half-sisters and Phoebe, they do not deserve it). But she is truly creative in driving away her mother’s horrible boyfriends and in punishing her absent dad. I can’t help but smile at the mischief she gets into. And it’s hard to be truly mad at her because her pain and her secret wish to see her family reunited are clear in her every action (even if they are not always clear to her).
The whole story comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I really can believe in Violet’s catharsis and her healing because Nielsen has been building toward it throughout the book. And though I’m not a George Clooney fan, his role in the ending made even me melt a little.
As an added bonus, Violet is an avid reader and mentions many real books for children and teens. I’ve already read a lot of them but it makes me want to go out and find the rest! (Because what I need right now is more books to read. ;P)
Dear George Clooney takes place in the same universe as Nielsen’s previous novel, Word Nerd. Cosmo, Amanda and Ambrose all make appearances. If you liked this book, definitely check out Word Nerd it is as charming and quirky but even funnier.