Red Deer Press (2010)
Reviewed by Lucia La (age 14) for Reader Views (10/10)
Teenagers face many obstacles and challenges in their daily lives. In addition to that hardship, adolescence is the time between childhood and adulthood where teens try to find out who they are. There is time for mistakes and crazy stunts that allow them to grow mature in this period. The book “Acting Up” displays the wacky life of Sam Foster, the main character. Peer pressure, school work woes, and relationship drama are all included in this novel which has many entertaining aspects.
Sam Foster is an aspiring band member who strives to be cool and fit in with his friends. He is an overall good kid who tries to do his best to follow the rules, but despite his best efforts, he gets into trouble more often than he would like. He has a teacher for family life that all the students are terrified of for his volatile temper. The assignment for the class is to take care of a mechanical baby who cries or wails at random times. The person taking care of the baby must put insert a key in the doll to stop the crying within a time limit. Sam gets the baby first and it is hilarious how many mishaps he gets into while trying to pass his assignment. To top it off, he ends up destroying the expensive equipment while trying to get through a band performance due to circumstances out of his control. His girlfriend is named Martha and she comes to support him at his performances though he doesn’t like the crowd she hangs out with. She is smoker and a rebel, all in all the complete opposite of Sam.
An interesting part of this book includes an adult novelty store whose owner sponsors Sam’s team for the river race which Martha drags him into. Along the course of the story, Sam makes a mistake that lands him in deep trouble with his significant other, but also meets an eccentric famous author living in his town when he does his service hours. If all that isn’t enough to handle for a teenager, Sam still has to go through his driving lessons and try to prove to his parents that he can be left at home for the weekend.
“Acting Up” has an overall chaotic plot. The story goes from one episode to the next and can be a bit hard to follow. There are plenty of sexual references but it is generally appropriate for teenagers to read. I would recommend “Acting Up” to anyone who is looking for a challenging plot and able to handle sexual content.