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Getting the Girl: A Guide to Private Investigation, Surveillance, and Cookery Hardcover – September 30, 2008
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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.
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
Top customer reviews
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.
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
The horrible act of defiling has gone on unchallenged for a pretty loonnnng time. That is, until Sherman Mack (a geeky, yet original, freshman learns that his crush, the beautiful and nice, Dini Trioli(despite the fact that Dini will neverever see him as a potential boyfriend..), might be next up on the list to be Defiled. And of course, Sherman doesn't want that to happen.
All it takes is the urging of his good friend, Vanessa, and Sherman Mack is investigating the who, the what and the why behind the Defiled.
I've always been kind of iffy with authors writing in first person from a perspective of the opposite gender of themselves. Oftentimes, it just comes off as completely and utterly unnatural. However, in Getting the Girl, Susan Juby's Sherman Mack is hilarious, realistic and completely easy to relate to. He's quirky, funny and as he relays the story of this investigation, he leaves nothing out. Even his fantasies about random female characters in the book.
The story idea itself, well, it's pretty terrific. There are many books on the hierarchy of high school; however, I think this one is one of my favorites. The problem is tackled uniquely and hilarity ensues along the way. I was laughing out-loud as I read Getting the Girl!
Along with Sherman Mack, Susan Juby's cast of characters is widespread and varied. Sherman's mother is a bartender who has a thing for burlesque dancing. Definitely not your typical mother...
His friends, those he has and those he meets along the way, all add extra flavor to the book. From the Trophy Wives that he befriends (or who befriend him) to his friend Vanessa, every single character is vital to the novel. Sherman's developing relationship with Vanessa is particularly interesting to read about...
I really don't have any qualms at all with Getting the Girl! Buy it, now!