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Acting Up Paperback – May 8, 2010
From School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"There isn't a character in this book who won't remind you of somebody you know, and they aren't superficial or two dimensional. Staunton also does an excellent job of capturing how teens think and speak, and the teenage voices feel authentic. The plot moves along at a swift pace and will easily appeal to reluctant teenage readers. Filled with action and humour, it's enjoyable to read. Much of the story is absurd, but it never becomes unbelievable. It isn't difficult to imagine that everything Sam experiences throughout the novel could happen, and readers will sympathize with Sam's mounting frustration as he keeps getting into trouble. Content wise, the novel is pretty clean, but issues of sex, drinking and drugs make this more appropriate for an early teenage audience than middle school readers.
-- CM Magazine
Sam, age 15, struggles to be "mature" in this engaging comedy. He lives in a small Canadian town where everyone knows everyone else, but Sam will soon learn that even small-town scrutiny can overlook little quirks. Everything goes wrong with Sam's plans, starting when he's assigned to "mother" a mechanical baby doll that cries at the drop of a hat and must find a way to play drums for the most important gig his band ever has booked while also trying to comfort the doll. No matter how mature he tries to be, Sam keeps getting into more and more trouble. Filled with such colorful secondary characters as the middle-aged couple who open a sex shop, Sam's dangerously rebellious girlfriend, Martha, and the famous writer who keeps Sam at his beck and call, the story gallops along with disaster after disaster for the hapless Sam, who tries so hard to do his best. While maturity may remain elusive for Sam, readers won't have any trouble finding laughs in this sly, wining tale. Chuckles galore. (Fiction. 14 & up)
Sam Foster, a normal teenager and drummer in the band ADHD, has maturity as his latest goal. Achieving this goal will put him well on the way to a parent-free weekend over spring break and getting his learner's permit. But as with most teenagers, circumstances have a way of preventing even the most enthusiastic teen from success.
In school, Sam chooses Family Studies to achieve an easy pass, and then finds himself babysitting a Kinder 4000 Infant Simulator baby doll for his must-pass assignment. The baby is to be cared for day and night, no matter what. This leads to complications when Sam's band ADHD has to play in a competition at Club Rockit. When Sam fails his task, he has to suffer the consequences, being the percussionist for the play The Amazings and working at the local library. Sam has a way of attracting problems, and with his anarchistic, rule-breaking girlfriend, Martha, at his side, Sam slips further away from an adult-free, junk-food eating, DVD-watching weekend with his friend Darryl.
Staunton has written a fast-paced coming-of-age novel that flows well. Teens will easily identify with the main characters and the hilarious antics that take place as he achieves maturity. There is mention of the effects of drinking alcohol and references to drug taking, but it is within the context of the story. Although it is part of the Hope Springs series, this novel could be read as a stand-alone book.
-Amanda McFadden. VOYA
"Staunton strikes a believable chord as the characters develop. . . Mostly comic with relatable, embarrassing situations and a cast of characters trying to figure out what they want and how to communicate with one another, it also has a few deeper notes that lend some weight to the plot. Though the outcomes of some plot points are a bit predictable, Staunton's overall story and creative collection of teenage mishaps makes it a good, solid read."
-- School Library Journal