What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while the action of this book is all about Markus trying to get the girl, his whimsical affections are based in romance rather than sex. Markus' mom died when he was very young and he lives with his father, but the absence of the mother is not an issue in the story. Originally published in Norway and translated into English, the Norwegian publisher suggests an age range of 14-17 years, but the story is about middle school kids and is appropriate for that age group.
What's the story?
Markus is 13 years old and seems to fall in love with a different girl every week. His best friend, Sigmund, always has a good idea about what to do, until Markus and Sigmund fall for the same girl. After the two boys resolve that argument, they set about devising various plans to get Markus his girl. Eventually, Markus and Sigmund, with their best girl buddies, form a friendship club and come up with the best idea yet: to stage a play (Romeo and Juliet) so that Alexandra (as Juliet) will fall in love with Markus (as Romeo). In the end, Markus ponders the quote, "Who can doubt...whether we are in this world for anything else than to love?" and he feels certain that food, books, good movies and friendship are all good reasons to be in this world, as well.
Is it any good?
This book is charming and delightful with a cast of hilarious yet endearing characters. There are many laugh-out-loud moments and situations which readers will either relate to or hope not to experience in their own lives. The friendships among the characters are deep and true, showing both complexity and simplicity. The Romeo and Juliet play is funny, yet some readers may find the Shakespeare quotes and scenes a bit lengthy. There are good plot twists to keep the reader guessing outcomes, and in the end, readers will feel hopeful and happy.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about crushes. Why do kids change their "crush" so often? Have you and a friend ever had a crush on the same person? Did it challenge your friendship? How did you resolve it? Do you think movies (like Legends of the Fall in this story) depict realistic love stories?
Families can talk about friendship. Do you have a good friend of the opposite gender? How did you become friends? Have you ever been in an argument with a friend? How did you resolve it? Did you ever develop a crush on a friend?
Families can talk about the story setting. Could you tell the story took place in Norway? Could it have taken place anywhere? Did you notice any language that was different? Do you think the kids in this book were similar to kids at your school?