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Monday, September 5, 2011

Review: Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes by Amber Kizer

Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes by Amber Kizer. A Gert Garibaldi book.

Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes by Amber Kizer

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 2011
List Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 9780385734325

Review: Well, I guess everyone's life is full of ordinary catastrophes. These are mine. Hi I'm Gert Garibaldi. Welcome to my crazy life. The life of a teenager can sometimes be summed up as a compilation of catastrophes - ordinary catastrophes, and Gert's life is no different. In Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes , Amber Kizer's sequel to Gert Garibaldi's Rants and Raves: One Butt Cheek at a Time , Gert faces one catastrophe after another as she navigates herself through the nucleus of catastrophes - high school.

Gert is just like any other high school student. She must tackle complex homework assignments, deal with boys, family, a job, her friends and as if that's not enough, Gert must plan for her future! Gert has a boyfriend. This should make her lucky, right? Not if he kisses like a vacuum cleaner! And what does that say about Gert if she doesn't like kissing her boyfriend? And how sad is it that "said boyfriend" dumps Gert? Then, while Gert is dealing with this boy crisis, her father ends up hospitalized giving her far more responsibility at home than she might be ready to handle. Getting fired from her barely-minimum-wage, grease-infested job doesn't help the situation either. Fortunately, Gert has wonderful friends who divert her attention from her personal catastrophes to engage her in wacky schemes that ultimately involve her in more drama. And seriously, how is a girl who is putting one fire out after another even supposed to think about her future?? Well, Gert somehow finds a way - though she leaves a few bumps and bruises along the way.

Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes is a hysterical look at adolescence that teenage girls will stay up all night reading. Most of the novel is written from the frantic perspective of Gert. Readers are drawn in on the first line when Gert says, "Oh, Holy-Mother-of-High-Heels-and-Dropping-Balls, what does a girl wear to a New Year's Eve party?" The candid prose engages readers throughout the novel and keeps them chuckling along the way. Then interspersed between chapters are Gert's "Rants". For example, her first rant is about the word "orchard" (which is really an analysis about the etymology of the word "date" and how a "wizened piece of fruit" has become associated with boys and girls). These are somewhat random, and oftentimes humorous, rants that are presented in a handwritten form to take on the appearance of a diary of sorts. The reader feels as if Gert is talking (or ranting) to her - -making readers want to respond and carry on the conversation! Readers will fall in love with Gert and her sarcastic outlook towards life. Although it is not essential to read Gert Garibaldi's Rants and Raves: One Butt Cheek at a Time before reading Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes, if it is even half as entertaining as this book, it is certainly recommended. Gert Garibaldi is a little bit of every high-school girl out there, and she'll touch the hearts of readers everywhere. Hopefully Amber Kizer won't stop here, but will instead continue sharing Gert's world with teenage readers far and wide.

Review written by Margo Nauert (6th grade teacher).

We would like to thank Random House for providing a copy of Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes for this review.

Have you read Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes? How would you rate it?

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