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Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery Hardcover – September 30, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up—This book sends strong positive messages about making a difference without hitting readers over the head. At its core is a mystery: who is "defiling" or D-listing girls at Harewood Technical? Shrimpy Sherman Mack loves girls in more than just the way typical ninth-grade boys do, though he clearly has all those urges and obsessions, too. He stands up to champion some of those whose photos have gotten posted in school bathrooms with the D-mark of the pariah and who have had to endure a particularly nasty level of the high school inferno. When lovely, artistic outsider Dini starts dating a mega-popular lacrosse player, Sherman tries to warn her off. He takes up the case as a sort of teen private investigator in training, in part because he wants to help the victims, but also because his friend Vanessa admires his efforts—and he admires Vanessa. Vivid supporting characters add depth to Sherman's world: his way-too-hot bartender mother, whose hobby is burlesque dancing; his enthusiastic cooking teacher, who encourages his dinner-party project to fast-track him into the school's professional courses; and a range of eccentric friends and acquaintances from a variety of social classes and cliques. As if appealing to both genders and espousing integrity weren't enough, the story is often funny, with an endearing main character. Getting the Girl is a pursuit worth undertaking.—Suzanne Gordon, Peachtree Ridge High School, Suwanee, GA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

As Sherman Mack describes it, the caste system at his high school includes “the usuals—jocks, Trophy Wives, scholars” as well as “the Defiled,” a few girls blackballed by an unknown person and afterwards ostracized by all the students. Afraid that a girl he cares for will be targeted, Sherman decides to uncover the defiler. The mystery’s outcome is less important than Sherman’s experiences along the way. Juby takes a potentially bleak subject and makes it crackle with energy and wit. The innocent, determined kid-next-door side of Sherman’s nature is balanced by his weak-kneed inability to think rationally when the Trophy Wives (A-list girls) set him up for a demeaning photo shoot—dressed in women’s clothing. Clever, smart, and wryly observant, the first-person narrative is matched by an impressive array of convincingly quirky, original characters. Not the least of these is Sherman himself, a (sometimes) high-minded Don Quixote tilting at windmills in an unconventional setting: high school. Grades 8-10. --Carolyn Phelan

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060765259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060765255
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,097,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Sherman Mack just started 9th grade at Harewood Technical High School and even though it means he can now pursue "older women," the social hierarchy at Harewood is pretty terrifying. Every once in a while a girl's photo appears on the bathroom mirrors with a big D on it. The D stands for Defiled, and once you're on the D-List, there is no way to recover from social leprosy. No one talks to you, looks at you, acknowledges your existence: you disappear. But this doesn't sit well with Sherman, especially when he thinks the girl he's interested in might be the next one to be defiled. With the help of his friend Vanessa's detective books and a few tips from Law & Order, Sherman starts an official investigation. But the defilers, whoever they are, aren't the type of people you mess with, and it's not long before Sherman worries not only about his own social stature, but that of his closest friends as well.

While at times Getting the Girl verges on corny, Juby's characters are likable and funny, and the mystery really doesn't reveal itself until the very end. Social politics in high school is a very real issue, and while a cliche in teen fiction, Juby's approach is new and refreshing. On the whole, Getting the Girl is delightful and fun, a good read for guys and gals.
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Format: Paperback
Sherman Mack likes sophomore Dini Trioli. He thinks he stands a chance with her; at least he thought he did, until uber-cool Lester Broadside moves in and shows an interest in her. Sherman gives up his dream of Dini until he thinks she's on a collision course of being D-listed. D- Listed = defiled.

At Harewood Tech, there is an unspoken tradition of girls being D-listed. Simultaneously, pictures appear in the bathrooms and the photographed girl is marked as bad news, forever tainted and shunned at the school. With his precious Dini possibly marked, Sherman takes on the job of secret surveillance to uncover who is behind the defiling.

Sherman enlists the aid of a ragtag group of friends. He is convinced Lester is behind the defiling, and seeks out girls who have been D-listed in the past. Everything comes to an unbelievable conclusion at a dinner party Sherman has to host at school.

I LOVED Sherman Mack. He's the epitome of freshman geek-turned-cool-guy by the end of the story. I'm dating myself here, but I can picture a young Anthony Michael Hall (think Sixteen Candles) portraying Sherman in a movie version. Just picturing someone like that hiding in Ben's mother's closet with the Trophy Wives trying on clothes and shoes makes me laugh out loud even now.

GETTING THE GIRL was originally published as a hardcover in 2008 but was re-released in paperback in 2010. Whichever version you pick up, be prepared for a fun romp of freshman boy detecting!

Reviewed by: Jaglvr
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Format: Hardcover
The thing about mysteries is that the writing can be absolutely stellar, but if the big reveal sucks, the whole book seems pointless. That is the central problem about Getting the Girl. Mack is an awesome narrator, the kind of guy you think doesn't really exist in real life. The whole story is incredibly unique and convoluted (in a good way). I'm reading this and thinking, "Wow. Susan Juby sure has gone a long way since Alice, I Think." And then, in a totally anticlimactic way, the Defiler is revealed, and it all seems like a waste of time. Why bother? It was nothing shocking, nothing to provoke thought, nothing that would warrant an emotional response of any kind. I was having so much fun theorizing, only to have it be the most boring result possible. Yawn. And the thing is, there are so many great characters she's created that could and would have been better as the perp, and she doesn't pick any of them. What if it had been Vanessa? Or Dini herself? How much more amazing would that have been to read? So, good writing, good characters, but horribly flat ending that really reveals nothing at all about the problems in the high school hierarchy.

Rating: 4/5
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Format: Hardcover
Sherman Mack is one of the funniest voice I've read lately, and this whole story has the quirk-factor turned on high. I don't know if an actual high school freshman (especially one who mixes his words (expired for aspired and that sort of thing)) could come up with some of his zingers, but they made me laugh all the same. Sherman's mom is a glitter-loving burlesque dancer, his male role model and mentor is a gardening neighbor who likes to tipple, and he has a collection of unusual, wonderful individuauls as both teachers and friends.

He enjoys his cooking class, gets crushes on a number of girls, finds himself embroiled in a mystery, tangles with the popular jocks and consults with his Law & Order (the TV show) loving friend Vanessa. Vanessa is a wonderful piece of work -- maybe she'll get a book of her own.

I wish the subtitle didn't mention Private Investigation and Surveillance, as I didn't feel the plot was really the strongest point of the book. The real strength is in the characters. I enjoyed a great many laughs, and "met" some kids and adults I wish I'd known in high school. If there were a category for 4-and-one-half stars, that's what I'd give this book.
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