Reviews for All Shook Up


Booklist Reviews 2008 May #1
A child of divorce, 13-year-old Josh wryly calls himself a shared kid, meaning he spends a lot of time shuttling between his parents, who live half a continent apart. Arriving in Chicago to spend more than the usual amount of time with his dad (it's complicated), he finds that his free-spirited father has become an Elvis impersonator. Worse, Dad's new girlfriend has a hippie daughter, Ivory, who is Josh's age and (a) knows the awful truth about Dad and (b) takes a likin' to Josh. Terrified that the kids at his new school will learn about Dad, Josh tries to distance himself from Ivory--and from his well-meaning father. Pearsall's premise is clever, but the execution is more than a tad predictable. Nevertheless, some funny moments, some offbeat characters, and some elements of suspense (Will Dad's identity be revealed? Will Elvis leave the building?) will keep most readers engaged. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2008 June
My father, the King

The art of comedy involves taking a normally awkward situation and giving it just enough absurdity to make someone laugh. Take Josh Greenwood's situation: he's embarrassed by his father. Every kid alive has been embarrassed by their parentswe look at it as part of the job description, kidsbut in Shelley Pearsall's new book, All Shook Up, Josh's dad, Jerry Denny, has taken this duty to unimagined heights.

When Josh's grandma breaks her hip, his mother has to travel to Florida to nurse her back to health, and Josh, who normally experiences his dad's "garlic and cigarette smoke hugs" during short holiday visits, is faced with an extended stay, not to mention a new school. When he arrives on his Boston to Chicago flight, he quickly realizes that his worst fears have fallen far short of reality. His dad looks different; he's wearing a Hawaiian shirt and sunglasses, and his normally brown hair has been dyed a slick, glossy black. Shortly thereafter he discovers to his horror that his father has lost his job as a shoe salesman, and has chosen a completely unexpected career pathas an Elvis Presley impersonator!

The seventh-grader is faced with trying to adjust, which means doing his best to fit in and trying to find his place on the Charles W. Lister middle school social ladder, all while dealing with the new people in his life. There's Gladys, the slightly addled elderly woman down the street who makes his dad's "Elvis scarves"; Viv, his dad's new girlfriend, who runs a vintage clothing store; and most importantly, Ivory, Viv's daughter, who goes to his school, and who knows his secret shame. When his dad is asked to perform at a school function, Josh launches a desperate scheme to prevent his appearance, but things quickly go from bad to worse, and he finds out that maybe his dad isn't as crazy as he thought.

All Shook Up is alternately wry, silly, thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny. It will appeal to any kids who've been mortified by their parentsnamely, all of them. And it just might launch a new generation of Elvis fans!

James Neal Webb hopes you enjoyed this review. Thankyouverramuch. Copyright 2008 BookPage Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2008 April #2
Since his parents split when he was five, 13-year-old Josh Greenwood is accustomed to dividing his time between Boston with his orderly mother and Chicago vacations with his forgetful, shoe-salesman father. When Josh's grandmother in Florida takes a fall, however, Josh's mother sends him to Chicago where he'll have to start his seventh-grade year at a new school. Josh arrives to find the shoe store where his dad worked has closed, and his dad looking...Elvis-y. Josh can handle his dad's possible girlfriend Viv and her over-friendly and rather strange daughter Ivory, but he can't take everyone knowing about his dad's new "job." School starts, and to Josh's horror Viv signs his dad up to impersonate Elvis at his school's '50s theme day. Pearsall's fourth is funny, realistic and slightly sarcastic, and the eventual changes in Josh's relationship with his dad are both believable and well-handled. Boys especially will identify with Josh's struggle to escape the stigma of an embarrassing parent. (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2008 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 July

Gr 6-8-- Josh Greenwood, 13, lives with his mom in Boston, but he is shipped off to his dad in Chicago when she has to go to Florida to care for her mother. Once there, he discovers that his shoe-salesman father has lost his job and is now an Elvis impersonator. Dad's new girlfriend owns a vintage clothing shop and her daughter, Ivory, wears outfits that are wacky mismatched blasts from the past, and she has a boyfriend who wears a dog collar. "Hard" does not even begin to cover Josh's feelings about his new life. Of course, in true middle schooler fashion, he is unable to see anything except how this situation affects him. His potential for humiliation and embarrassment are central to his character and lead to an explosive division between him and his father. Through a wonderful and believable process of discovery orchestrated partially by Ivory and her mom, father and son come to understand one another. Pearsall has given Josh an authentic voice, and his first-person narrative is engaging throughout.--Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA

[Page 106]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2008 August
The summer he turns thirteen, Josh Greenwood is on his way to Chicago to stay with his father. He usually lives with his mother in Boston, but she has to go to Florida to care for his Grandmother who is recovering from a hospital stay. Josh would much rather be in Florida, especially when his father picks him up (late) at the airport with new, big black hair and sideburns. Josh is mortified. It turns out that his father lost his job and has decided to pursue work as an Elvis impersonator. With myriad priceless asides, Josh takes readers through his father's endless rehearsing and attempts to recruit his help with performances (rebuffed), opinions of his father's new girlfriend and daughter who just happens to go to Josh's school-so much for keeping his father's new "hobby" a secret-and his desperation to hold on to a semblance of the popularity he enjoyed in Boston. When his father is hired to perform for a school event, Josh goes too far trying to prevent it. Only then does he realize how much he was starting to enjoy his new life. This affecting story of a typical, clever middle-school boy dealing with divorce and the new families that sometimes replace the old is also a very funny tale told by a terrifically engaging young narrator. Although some issues are serious, it is one of those rare, humor-filled books that will appeal to middle school readers regardless of gender.-Angela Carstensen PLB $18.99. ISBN 978-0-375-93698-2. 5Q 4P M J Copyright 2008 Voya Reviews.

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