Category Archives: Funny

Can You Keep a Secret? – Review

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Title: Can You Keep a Secret?

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella is both uplifting and hilarious. Kinsella is an author who is able to create light-hearted stories without making them predictable and cliche. While she has written many fabulous books, including Twenties Girl and Remember Me?, Can You keep a Secret stands out as having very relatable situations and characters, which makes them even more laugh-worthy. The story is about a girl named Emma, a terrified flyer on a bumpy plane ride. She is a flawed bundle of nerves, but that is exactly what makes her understandable and realistic to the reader. On her trip, she gets so nervous that she just starts talking…and talking…and talking…to the random stranger sitting next to her. She tells him literally everything, such as the fact that she waters her irritating co-worker’s plant with orange juice just to annoy her. Once the flight lands, Emma is terribly embarrassed, but at least knows that she will never have to see this man again. Think again! It turns out that the man is the CEO of Emma’s company! This man now knows EVERYTHING about Emma. and will see her every day. Just reading it makes me cringe!

I don’t laugh with books very often, but Sophie Kinsella is so funny, and all of her books are just as laughable and irresistible. Can You Keep a Secret? is a hilarious and embarrassing story that brings tears to your eyes. It is realistic, but not at all boring. It is the kind of story for a cozy day in bed because of its fast-paced, cause-and-effect-style plot. The best thing about Kinsella’s books is that you know exactly what you are getting: witty, sarcastic humor and lovable main characters.  After reading this book, you can only hope that something like this never happens to you!

-Emily, grade 12

The Kidney Hypothetical – Booktalk

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Title: The Kidney Hypothetical, or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days

Author: Lisa Yeekidney

Higgs Boson Bing (yes, he was named for the God particle) has seven days left of his perfect high school career. Debate team captain, prom king, track team, co-valedictorian, early admission to Harvard, and a perfect girlfriend. Well, maybe not perfect because she’s not super-smart, but she’s super-hot and they make the perfect couple. Anyhow, he’s got seven days left. What could go wrong? And then his girlfriend asks a silly question, “Would you donate a kidney to me?” It’s a simple question, but Higgs gets it wrong.

In a cascading series of events, he is soon girlfriendless, then friendless, then the laughingstock of the entire school, and even his acceptance to Harvard comes under fire as someone launches a deliberate campaign to ruin his life.

Higgs is forced to question exactly what all his superficial achievements mean, and who they were really for in the funny, thoughtful Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee.

We Are All Made of Molecules – Booktalk

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Title: We Are All Made of Moleculeswe are all made of molecules

Author: Susin Nielsen

Stewart and his father are moving in with Ashley and her mother. He’s 87% excited; she’s 110% horrified.

Thirteen-year-old Stewart is gifted intellectually but not so great at the social/emotional stuff. He’s also getting over the death of his mother a couple years ago. Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the queen bee at her school, and she works hard to maintain her status. It’s difficult enough having to hide the fact that her parents split up because her father is gay. Adding Stewart – or Spewart – into the mix will not help.

The book goes back and forth from sweet and touching to laugh-out-funny as Stewart and Ashley take turns narrating their story of bullying, bigotry, tolerance, friendship, and family.

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda – Review

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Title: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Author: Tom Angleberger

This book is set up as a “case file” assembled by Tommy and including comments and drawings from his friends. Tommy is trying to get to the bottom of a strange problem: Is Origami Yoda real? “Does he really know things? Can he see the future? Does he use the Force? Or is he just a hoax that fooled a whole bunch of us?”

Origami Yoda was created by Dwight, and from his perch on Dwight’s finger, he speaks through Dwight in a surprisingly wise way. The reason this is so strange is that Dwight is so strange. Dwight is the weird kid who pulls his socks up over his knees when he wears shorts. The one who spewed apple juice all over the class cupcakes. The one who wanted everyone to call him Captain Dwight. So, he’s weird. Benign, but weird.

Origami Yoda, on the other hand, is a virtual fountain of wisdom and sage advice. You leaned against the wet bathroom sink and it looks like you peed your pants? Splash your whole body – it’s a water accident, not a potty accident. Problem solved! The thing is, if Dwight is such a weirdo, how does Yoda give such good advice? And if Yoda gives such good advice, why doesn’t Dwight listen to it? This is the conundrum Tommy is trying to solve, and it makes for a very entertaining book.

I started reading this on my lunch break and finished it at dinner. It’s a super-fast read (maybe 150 pages long), but there’s substance, too. The design of the book is fun. The pages are faux-crinkled, the fonts change depending on who’s telling the story, and there are lots of little doodle drawings and commentaries in the margins. The story continues in Darth Paper Strikes Back and The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee.

Stupid Fast – Review

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Title: Stupid Fast

Author: Geoff Herbach

Felton Reinstein, aka Rhinestone, aka Squirrel Nut, has always been a nobody. He’s got one good friend, and he gets picked on a lot because he’s small for his age – or at least, he used to be small for his age. In the couple of months leading up to his 16th birthday, Felton has had a massive growth spurt, adding 6 or 8 inches and almost 50 pounds to his frame.

On the outside, Felton’s now a powerful athlete who’s got football and track coaches begging him to join their teams. On the inside he’s still the same kid with a piano-prodigy little brother who’s obsessed with their father’s suicide and a mother who is slowly losing her grip on reality.

Stupid Fast manages to be funny while tackling some fairly serious issues. Felton is confused by a lot of what’s going on around him, and in true teenage fashion he does his best to ignore everything until it blows up in his face. The book ends on a positive note, and Felton’s story continues in Nothing Special.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

The Last Dragonslayer – Review

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Title: The Last Dragonslayer

Author: Jasper Fforde

Jennifer Strange is a 16-year-old orphan who manages an employment agency for magicians. Business is slow because magic has been drying up over the last few decades. Once-powerful magicians have been reduced to attempting modest home improvements and delivering pizzas via magic carpet, until one of the magicians starts having visions of Big Magic. In the visions, someone is going to kill the last dragon, and it looks as though that someone is Jennifer. Is Jennifer really the last dragonslayer?!

Jasper Fforde is best known for his fantastical mystery series featuring literary detective Thursday Next. This is his first book for teens and also the first in a trilogy. The approach is very matter-of-fact; I mean, is there a more pedestrian name than Jennifer? And yet our practical, responsible young heroine does indeed turn out to play a major role in the upheaval facing her country. It’s a fun, quirky book with plenty of slapstick, puns and wordplay, and the best sort of dry British humor. And a dragon, of course.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Beat the Band – Review

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Title: Beat the Band

Author: Don Calame

Summer’s over and Matt, Sean, and Coop are ready to rock their sophmore year of high school. The problem? Coop’s been paired with epic loser “Hot Dog” Helen for a semester-long project on safe sex. How will he survive this social death sentence? By entering and winning the school’s battle of the bands contest. The thing is, the boys’ band, Arnold Murphy’s Bologna Dare (kind of an inside joke), is more theoretical than actual. Sure they rock Guitar Hero, but real instruments? Not so much. Coop is unstoppable, though, and whether they like it or not, Matt and Sean are along for the ride.

Beat the Band is every bit as funny as Swim the Fly. This time Coop tells the story, and he’s terrific as he wise-cracks his way through the book. There are tons of laugh-out-loud moments, although the scene in the library with the epic gas attack nearly killed me. As soon as you finish this, you’ll want to run – not walk – to get Sean’s story in Call the Shots.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Swim the Fly – Review

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Title: Swim the Fly

Author: Don Calame

Every summer, best friends Matt, Sean, and Coop set themselves a goal. When they were younger their goals were simple, like collect 1,000 golf balls before the end of the season. This year, the goal is fairly epic:  to see a naked girl – not in a magazine or online – a living, breathing naked girl.  The problem? None of them has a girlfriend. In fact, none of them has ever even been on a date, so how they’re going to see a naked girl is anyone’s guess.

As crazy as this goal is, however, it begins to look almost feasible when compared to the situation Matt has gotten himself into. You see, in order to impress the hot new girl on their swim team, Matt has volunteered to swim the fly – the 100-meter butterfly, that is. The thing is, Matt can’t even swim one length of the pool, let along the four lengths that make up the 100-meter race – and how he’s gonna make it through the summer is also anyone’s guess…

This book had me laughing from start to finish. At one point I was literally crying from laughing so hard. (The scene involves laxatives, cross-dressing, and the girls’ locker room. How could you not cry?)  Matt is an awesome narrator, and his friends and family are equally appealing. Everything about this book is fab, especially the fact that Coop and Sean have their own stories to tell in Beat the Band and Call the Shots.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn – Review

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Title: 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn

Author: James Proimos

Hercules Martino’s dad just died, but he’s not too broken up about it because his dad was a major jerk. Still, Herc’s been acting like a major jerk himself, so his mom ships him down to Baltimore to spend a couple weeks with his uncle and pull himself together.  On the train, Herc sits next to the Girl of His Dreams but doesn’t do anything about it. Soon after he arrives, Uncle Anthony gives Herc 12 things to do before summer’s over. Things like

  • Find the best pizza joint in town
  • Go on 7 job interviews in one day
  • Eat a meal with a stranger

Herc alternates between searching for Girl of His Dreams and completing Uncle Anthony’s 12-part project, and of course, the two eventually collide.

This is probably the shortest YA book I’ve ever read (120 pages). I wish it was twice as long because I wanted more of Hercules, more of his snarky commentary, and more about his epic adventures.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer – Review

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Title: Hold Me Closer, Necromancer

Author: Lish McBride

Nineteen-year-old Sam is stuck in a dead-end job flipping burgers and hanging out watching old movies with his slacker friends in Seattle. A late-night prank brings some uncomfortable attention from Douglas, a powerful and malicious necromancer, and then Sam and his friends are violently attacked. Turns out Sam has the makings of an equally powerful necromancer, which his mother has been suppressing for years in order to protect him.  It’s too late to hide, though, and Douglas has plans for Sam that alternate between slavery and death. Good thing Seattle is full of weird creatures, because Sam needs all the supernatural help he can get to unleash his powers and escape a very unpleasant, very short future.

This is a debut novel, but you’d never know it. The book is well-written, fast-paced, and switches back and forth from seriously scary to laugh-out-loud  funny at the drop of a hat. A great book for older teens.

–Lisa, Teen Librarian