Thursday, 2 May 2013
Thursday Thoughts: Review of Geekhood: Mission Improbable by Andy Robb
Warning: The below review contains spoilers for Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind.
Despite his efforts with Sarah at the start of term, fourteen-year-old Archie is still as geeky and as clueless about girls as ever. Then he meets Clare, a sixteen-year-old who has relationship problems of her own, and they create a fake relationship to try and get their crushes to notice them. What could possibly go wrong?
Archie's voice - split between the main narrative of the book and frequent interjections from his Interior Monologue, which tends to sarcastically put him down, and his Exterior Monologue, is fantastic. The two monologues are the kind of thing that could easily have come across as gimmicky, but in both books, Robb has really nailed them - they fit Archie's character perfectly, and make it a fun, fast paced read.
In addition to the superb voice, Geekhood has a good cast of characters - I particularly like Beggsy, who can carry on entire conversations with the use of the word ''Dude!'', and Archie's relationship with both his parents and their new partners is really realistically handled. (His mum is absolutely adorable, while the other three are all frustrating to varying degrees but clearly care about him a lot.) In addition, Archie and his friends become involved with live action role-playing, which makes this seriously unique; it's rare enough to read about tabletop roleplaying, but Andy Robb makes the idea of LARP sound completely fascinating. While not everyone will be as keen as I was after reading it to try and find some LARP to do, I'm pretty sure that everyone will be able to relate to Archie's romantic problems, and sympathise with him as he struggles with what to do about his fake girlfriend and the girl he actually likes.
There are lots of authors out there at the moment writing wonderful contemporary books about teen boys navigating the perils of growing up - I wish I'd had anywhere near this much of a choice of books to read when I was a teen myself! - and Andy Robb is one of the best of them. If you're a fan of Tom Clempson, Don calame, Larry Doyle or Jesse Andrews, you should definitely check out the Geekhood series.