Monday, October 17, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Dear George Clooney

Today’s Pick: Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen

Published by Tundra Books


After Violet's TV-director dad leaves their family for a new job, new house, new blond actress wife and new twin baby daughters, Violet has a little difficult adjusting. Three years later, she’s still feeling angry and definitely has an attitude. She doesn’t hide her feelings about her father deserting his family. She’s protective of her little sister, who still wets the bed after the trauma of the divorce. And she watches out for her mom, who keeps dating men that just don’t measure up.  When her mom starts dating Dudley Wiener (who wears vivid hand-knitted sweaters), Violet and her friend Phoebe decide they have to take matters into their own hands and help Violet’s mom get a decent man: actor George Clooney. Meanwhile, Violet is struggling with her own feelings about a boy named Jean Paul.

My Take:

I loved seeing the world from Violet’s perspective, even though it shocked me sometimes because she did things I didn’t expect (or wouldn’t do myself). This was a great study in character for me. I liked the uniqueness of Violet’s character and how she’s dealing with so many of the issues that face readers of middle grade books, such as starting to like boys, a family break up, dealing with the “mean girl” at school, figuring out how to get along with a step-mom, helping out with a little sister.

Other Info:

This is a stand alone novel. It has been named a Canadian Library Association 2011 Honour Book.

Susin Nielsen is a television writer and editor and has worked on many television series, including Degrassi, Degrassi Junior High, Ready or Not, Heartland, and Robson Arms.

Other books by this author include:

Word Nerd (I also loved this one)

For more info, visit Susin Nielsen’s website.


  1. This looks great! A similar subject matter to Sarah Dessen's latest but for MG. I'll have to add it to my TBR list :)

  2. P.S. I wonder.... did she have to get special permission to use George Clooney's name?

  3. What a cool idea. Though the kid should've picked someone other than George Clooney. I think he's said he'll never marry.

  4. This sounds good. What occurs to me is that it's quite a risk to include a famous person in your story that could, for all you know, have a huge scandal attached to his name, come out, or even be dead by the time you'd get the book written, sold, and published. I'd be inclined to make up my own star.

  5. Great review, Andrea. My son read this last year and enjoyed it! (We bought it while on vacation in Canada.)

  6. Interesting points about using a star's name. I actually have a celebrity in my latest project, but, as Marcia suggests, my celebrity character is invented.

  7. What intrigued me was your take on Violet doing things you wouldn't expect. I always like a character that gets me to sit up and pay attention like that!

  8. Thank you for sharing these. Have been meaning to read them for this (and Word Nerds!) for a while now....need to get to it.


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