Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.
Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies ... but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.
Thoughts: This is the final book from the older readers short list for the Children's Book Council that I needed to read. It was fantastic. Up until this point I was thinking it was going to be really hard to choose a winner, but for me, this is clearly it.
Where to start? Keil has written a book that works - all of it. The characters, the story, the setting - it just works. I know Sam and his friends because it was me and my friends at school. Fringe dwellers, noticed by certain people who decided their role at school was to make life difficult for those they didn't like. I also like the way that Camilla moves between the groups, seemingly immune from what others think of her. As a teacher I discovered these kids can manage that movement because they truly don't care if you like them or not. They are comfortable with who they are and don't need anyone else's approval. Kids like that fit in any where and if they do attract the attention of a bully, it doesn't last long because they refuse to react the way they are suppose to. They are too hard a target. It's a skill I wish we could teach.
I truly don't know what else to say. The book is well written, the characters are believable and endearing, the story paced just fast enough to keep it moving without feeling like you are being rushed - on the whole it's just about near perfect. Recommend it? Absolutely.