'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 13 September 2011

Review: UFO

The thing that consistently surprises me about Dave Hackett's books is how much I, as an.. ahem... 'older' woman, so thoroughly enjoy them.

I wasn't expecting to enjoy the first book in the UFO series, but enjoy it, I did - and I'd read the next two in the UFO series, if only I could pry them from my kids' hands.

In the spirit of those gosh-awful road trips we've all experienced as a child - Unavoidable Family Outing couldn't more accurately and hilariously hit the mark when it comes to a cast of perfect road-trip characters.

From the dippy, 'got it together' father to the mother with steam pouring from her ears. From the droll, idiotic big sister Jessie who spends her life glued to her mobile phone for any peep from her equally idiotic boyfriend BRAD (who just happens to have been kidnapped) to the cool, on-the-same-level younger sister Sal... and let's not forget to mention the quick-as-whip younger brother hero of the series... this is one family riot.

I can't even begin to explain the agonising journey in store for our hero as the story unfolds. From the brain-crushingly slow driving and backtracking in the Morris Minor (which incidentally, ends up aflame) to the loss of every possession, to the starvation and thirst because Dad doesn't want to stop because they're 'making good time' to the mental torture over Jessie and her love-forlorn wailing... this is surely some Trip.

Hackett's dialogue and teen-bickering is unbelievably believable, even though it's relatively 'out there'. Makes you want to just slam on the brakes and order the kids out of the car. The voice and rhythm the author uses is consistently superb and a joy to read. The humour is incandescent - even the chapter headings and illustrations are a hoot.

UFO is pure entertainment, and great fun for both boys and girls. Be prepared to hear giggles - which may just be your own.

Title: UFO: Unavoidable Family Outing
Author/Illustrator: Dave Hackett
Publisher: Penguin, $16.95
Publication Date: 6 February 2006
ISBN: 9780143302278
Format: Soft cover
For ages: 11+
Type: Junior Fiction