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Am I Right or Am I Right? Hardcover – February 13, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Calma Harrison, 16, is a bright, eccentric loner who loves English lit and brightly colored eyeglasses. Her only friend is Vanessa, a hippie so mellow she's nearly in a coma. Calma and her mother communicate via notes on the refrigerator. Then, her long-absent father appears in their tropical Australian town, desperate to speak to her, and her mother starts sneaking around at night, causing Calma to fear that her parents may be dating. When Vanessa becomes even more withdrawn and Calma notices cuts and scratches on her friend's body, she starts sleuthing. For the first quarter of the book, Jonsberg lays the teenage sarcasm on so thickly it backfires, and Calma, despite her raw language, sounds cutesy instead of edgy. Fortunately, she's more and more engaging as the plot progresses, and her depth and sincerity become obvious. Moreover, her jaunty narration creates a farcical mood that keeps the increasingly heavy subject matter from descending into melodrama. The supporting characters are drawn in broad strokes and seem present just to people the novel's abundant, and sometimes extraneous, subplots. Calma's sweet courtship with Jason, a gorgeous, disarming soccer freak, is an exception, but, with so many plot threads to weave together, the author leaves their relationship unexplored.—Johanna Lewis, New York Public Library
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From Booklist

Sixteen-year-old Calma Harrison knows that her dad is a jerk who left her and her mother years ago. She knows her friend Vanessa is being abused at home. She knows her mother is skipping work to see someone new. She also knows that she needs a job at Crazy Cheep, the marginal neighborhood grocery story, because the deliciously gorgeous Jason works there. All this definitive knowledge is agonizing and occasionally hilarious for Calma as she tries to solve everyone else's problems, conquer her own impulsiveness, and accept her life. Jonsberg employs quirky narrative formats, which include notes left on the refrigerator, movie-script dialogue, and Calma's straightforward narration. The book's greatest strength is its deftly drawn characters. Cameo appearances by an English teacher, who recognizes Calma's writing talent, are bright spots, even if they don't add much to the actual story line. YA readers will be attracted to the humor, which occasionally takes on a slapstick nature, as well as the mystery and drama constantly surrounding Calma's life. Frances Bradburn
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375836373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375836374
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,998,967 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on August 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Barry Jonsberg's AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT? tells of Calma, who is in love and facing many changes in her life: an absent father who returns to her world and wants to talk, a mother with a secret second life, and even a new crush. Calma's investigations into secrets will bring her face to face with the meaning of conviction in this warm story.
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By Sam Couture Reviews on April 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Am I Right or Am I Right? is a novel by Barry Jonsberg. It is the story of an average teenage girl named Calma who must deal with friends, family, school, work, and boys. The teenage girls reading this post would probably relate to Calma.

Calma would like to pursue English after high school, and throughout the novel there are pieces of writing from her and emails exchanged with her teacher. Every time either of these came up, I found myself confused as to what was going on since I found they did not always tie into what was taking place at the time. Even if they are very easy to differentiate from the rest of the text, for example being in italics or looking like a real email, I still found it difficult to follow.

However, when the story flowed without these writing “interruptions”, I found that I really enjoyed the novel. I found it easy to relate to, as it is the story of a teen. In addition to this, some of the parts were very funny. For example, Calma always tends to jump the gun and go straight to the end result instead of looking at the big picture. This usually ended up in a situation that made me laugh. A few passages in this novel are sad and could be confusing for some younger readers.

I would recommend this novel to anyone who is over the age of 14 who is looking for a realistic story that portrays the ups and downs of teenage life. Am I Right or Am I Right? is an enjoyable read that will surely put a smile on your face.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a very entertaining book. It is hilarious and has a lot of dry humor. It also deals with a lot of serious issues. You won't be able to put the book down!
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Format: Paperback
Oh my goodness, I read the intro chapter on the library website, and I was laughing so hard that my 16 year old daughter had me re-read the chapter to her. I got the book on kindle and my daughter and I laughed so hard her stomach was hurting and I was in tears! There were parts that I couldn't even read until I'd calmed down.
Yes, there is potty language. I just censored. It didn't detract. We're on chapter 22 and it has gotten a bit "heavy" with one of her friends possibly being abused, so beware of that.
We love the book!

Update.
We just finished. It was heavier at the end than the beginning. However a very good ending.
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