Pastis, Stephan. The Book You're Not Supposed to Have (Timmy Failure #5)
September 27th 2016 by Candlewick Press
ARC from Baker and Taylor
Timmy's mother is about to get married to Doorman Dave, but is not happy with him after his exploits of Book Four, so she bans him from being a detective until school is out. He must do better in school, practice piano, and behave himself. Timmy immediately sets out to find an alternative office, which he sets up in a display storage shed at a hardware store. His cousins Larry and Merry are staying with him, and they cause further complications. When Rollo goes missing and a teacher's strike causes school to go far into the summer, Timmy knows that he has to keep up with his detective business no matter how much trouble it gets him into.
Strengths: I have students who love this series SO much that I bribe them to get their grades up by offering to hold onto the ARC for them until they can get caught up. This is a notebook novel with easy to understand plot, well-defined characters, and age-appropriate vocabulary. Goofy, yes, and the polar bear is IMAGINARY, but these books are okay.
Weaknesses: Not my personal favorite. Timmy is obnoxious.
What I really think: Six book is plenty for ANY series. Wrap up Timmy, Mr. Pastis, and start on another series, please.
Klein, Jen. Shuffle, Repeat.
May 3rd 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central
June isn't happy that her mother has chosen to move out into the country, especially since she has arranged for June to ride into school with her best friend's son, the jockish and obnoxious Oliver. June is ready to be done with high school and move on, but Oliver is reveling in what he considers to be the best days of his life. The two are at odds over everything, especially music. June is dating Itch, and getting along well enough with him, but when the two break up, June fails to inform Oliver, who punches Itch when he is seen kissing another girl int he school hallways. There is definitely a connection between June and Oliver, but they are too involved in other high school activities and their futures after high school, to take the time to really do anything about it until prom rolls around.
This book had some interesting insight into how high school students view their school experiences. June is done with school. She enjoys hanging out with her friends (including Shaun, who is gay, and Darbs, who is a bisexual Christian), and has to deal with her divorced parents, but feels that high school is just a stepping stone to greater things. Her father is off working on his acting career, but forgetting about her in the process. Oliver's parents are also having trouble, and his relationship with Ainsley is uneventful, but high school is what gives him his identity and his place in the world. Both are understandable views, and it's interesting to see them played against each other.
There are so many stories about people who hate each other at first and then fall in love, and I was concerned that this would be rather trite. I was pleased that it managed to spin June and Oliver's story a slightly different way, and that the bulk of the book was not about them pining for each other only to fall in love and have something rip them apart, like so many other books are. The inclusion of music will add appeal to many readers.
I've always been a big fan of teen literature from the 1950s, and Shuffle, Repeat had some of the same qualities-- up-to-the-minute descriptions of current trends in fashion, technology and social mores set against the unchanging angst that is senior year! Put this one in a time capsule as a perfect description of high school life in 2016!
This is definitely a young adult book, and while there isn't a lot of drinking or any instructional sexual activity, there is plenty mentioned, and very sensitive readers might want to try books by Sarah Dessen or Jennifer E. Smith instead.