My Family and Other Freaks by Carol Midgley, published by Quercus on 7th June 2012
Danielle is doomed in love and has the parents from hell. Her mum and dad are embarrassingly scruffy and their car bonnet is a different colour to the rest of the car. Worst of all, they're still in love, which is totally gross considering how ancient they are. Her best friend is a (nice) nerd, her love-rival is an airhead the colour of creosote and her dog Simon is in love with an Ugg boot. Despite all this, she hatches a plan - indeed many plans - to win the gorgeous Damien's affections. But when she brings Simon to the park to show him off in front of Damien, a smelly little accident lands Danielle with the nickname 'Dench the Stench'. Could things get any worse? When Simon is accused of biting children in the neighbourhood and her Dad decides to have him taken away, Danielle's life truly begins to unravel.
Laugh out loud funny, this book is the perfect pick me up for those days you can't face getting out of bed. Humorous in all the right places, I really enjoyed reading 'My Family and Other Freaks' which I'll be encouraging everyone else to read immediately. Although Danni is a slightly younger heroine than I normally prefer, she is quite a character and I loved hearing about all her trials and tribulations.
Told in diary format by Danni, she narrates everyday episodes from her life, including the problem of fancying popular Damian who nearly every girl in school lusts after, as well as dealing with her embarrassing Mum and Dad who are always kissing and going out on dates...even at their age! She also has to face her nemesis Treasure who seems to thwart her at every turn and who gets far too cosy with the gorgeous Damian.
Being a huge dog lover, I enjoyed Danni's crusade to save her dog Simon and the anecdotes she tells about him being in love with her Mum's Ugg boots. I couldn't help giggling when they are in the park together near the start of the book and Simon causes Danni to earn the nickname 'Dench the Stench'.
So many things in the book rang true for me and reminded me of being a teenager. I could relate to Danni in a lot of ways and she came across as a very appealing central character. She has a fantastic sense of humour and sometimes even when she was trying to be serious she made me laugh. It's probably best not to read this in the company of others because trust me, you won't be able to contain yourself.
If you are looking for a light-hearted and fun read with a great cast of characters then this is the book for you!