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

Sunday 16 June 2019

Review: Natural Born Loser

Raymond aka RayBee feels like a permanent loser. No one wants to be on his soccer team – even in the five-minute game before school. And he goes to Barryjong Primary, which has such a bad reputation, the principals don't stick around.

Until Mr Humble arrives. He says he wants to turn the school around but he needs a team to help him.

When Mr Humble calls for grade six students to try out as prefects, Raymond follows his best friend Zain into tryouts and ends up surprising himself.

RayBee can't believe it when Mr Humble says he was the only one who spoke about how he felt. So begins Raymond's Odyssey  from self-proclaimed loser to heartfelt leader.

While some parts of Natural Born Loser are snort-out-loud funny, I held back a tear more than once as the level 100 Bullymon and his gang work to destroy every event RayBee and his team organise.

Can RayBee and his fellow prefects learn to work together? Can they achieve their impossible fundraising target so one classroom gets air-conditioning? Will Raymond realise he is not the loser he thinks he is?

I loved Natural Born Loser for so many reasons, but I think the biggest one was that everything felt so real. Natural Born Loser wasn't just a story about a boy trying to work out where he fitted in the world. It was a story about real people and dilemmas that happen in my life and situations that don't have easy answers.

Title: Natural Born Loser
Author: Oliver Phommavahn
Publisher: Puffin Books, $ 16.99
Publication Date: 30 July 2018
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780143505730
For ages: 8 +
Type: Middle Grade Fiction