Ishmael Leseur is convinced he is cursed because of his name. His name embarrasses him on a regular basis and causes him to so often be the focus of year 9 bully, Barry Bagsley. Ishmael’s policy is to try and stay out of Barry’s way as much as possible, but then James Scobie arrives in Ishmael’s class and things will never be the same. Everything about James screams victim, Barry’s eye’s light up and James turns things on their head. As if that wasn’t enough, he pulls Ishmael into the year 9 debating team and Ishmael finds himself embroiled in the worst, most embarrassing and somehow best year of his life. Somewhere along the way he finds friends, courage and there may even be a girl, but probably not because how could she possibly like Ishmael?
This book is laugh out loud funny. It is cheeky, silly, embarrassing and has moments that reminded me of school. Ishmael is a great character, resigned to his lot yet somehow wishing he could change things. He tries to step up but when he does things don’t always got the way he hopes. James is awesome, he has the appearance of a total geek but with a seeming imperviousness to bullies, he has mastered the art of insulting and informing while appearing pleasant and not the least bit like a tattletale.
Then there are the other members of the debating team; Ignatius Prindabel -the fact-o-pedia, Orazio Zorzatto – the class clown and Bill Kingsley – the sci-fi/fantasy obsessed one. They fit so well together, Bauer has created a very real and very fun book. I see Ishmael and his friends being heartily embraced, Ishmael is slightly older than Greg Heffley (Wimpy Kid) and the writing style is for slightly older readers but this is a good place for those who like those books to move up to.
Publisher: Omnibus Books
Published: 01 April 2006
Format: Paperback 288 pages
Categories: School Stories, Bullying, Humour
ISBN 13: 9781862917668
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