As far as Marcus is concerned, his problems begin the moment he arrives at Bourkely Boys Grammar, renamed by the students as ‘Bad Grammar’. It’s more like a prison than a school. The teachers are odd, the accommodation primitive and the prefects bully and intimidate the other students.
Marcus gets through the trauma of his school days by mentally referring to his ‘bible’, The Warrior’s Guide to Everything by R J Bergin. He is sure that his computer warrior skills can get him through any situation, but at Bad Grammar he is going to discover that sometimes, the bravest thing you can do is simply be yourself.
Bad Grammar is a humorous junior novel filled with entertaining characters (my favourites are the ‘ghostly’ librarian and Ms Blakely, the loopy teacher who prefers an ‘immersive’ teaching style). I found the bullying a little confronting, which was probably a case of my maternal instincts kicking in, but I thought that the subject of bullying was dealt with quite well when Marcus moved into a position of authority and discovered choosing to not be a bully isn’t the same as being a good leader, or a good friend.
There are lots of laugh out loud moments, lots of gross moments and even some thoughtful ideas about friendship and belonging. It is ideal for kids looking to step up to the next level from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate and similar novels.
Title: Bad Grammar
Author: Nathan Luff
Publisher: Walker Books, $ 16.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 January 2013
For ages: 9 - 12 years
Type: Junior fiction