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Homeroom Diaries

Review

Homeroom Diaries

Cuckoo Clark and her group of friends (lovingly referred to as the Freakshow) are not your typical high school students. They don’t fit into any of the established cliques at North Plains High School, but rather than trying to conform, they embrace their uniqueness. In fact, each of them has a nickname that reflects the worst insult any of their classmates could hurl at them. For instance, Cuckoo got her nickname because she spent a brief period of time in a mental hospital. By acknowledging their own abnormalities, the Freakshow hopes to prevent others from using these discrepancies from the norm against them.

This attitude brings significant challenges to Cuckoo and the Freakshow during the school year. Cuckoo is forced to choose between four boys who are interested in her; these consist of a “hater,” one of her best friends, an imaginary character based on a book she read in school and a teacher. She also has to deal with the loss of a loved one, nosy school administrators and a best friend who is in a very dire mental state. Through all of this, the Freakshow is brought closer together as they work towards their goal of uniting the many opposing factions in their school community.

Spunky, sarcastic and wickedly funny, Cuckoo is a character who would appeal to almost any teen.

The debacles that Cuckoo Clark and her friends face in HOMEROOM DIARIES are made even more hilarious by the addition of cartoon drawings in the book. Detailed and comical, these graphics greatly enhance the appeal of the story, making it twice as humorous. I am not particularly familiar with graphic novels, butI found HOMEROOM DIARIES to have the perfect blend of text and pictures.

The personality of Cuckoo, who narrates the story, also added to the appeal of the book. Spunky, sarcastic and wickedly funny, Cuckoo is a character who would appeal to almost any teen. She’s down-to-earth without being boring, witty without being mean and zany without being overly bizarre. Her voice is full of the very vibrancy and vivaciousness that makes being a teenager so exciting.

Overall, HOMEROOM DIARIES is a delightful read. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with both the number of times the book made me laugh and with its ability to convey profound ideas about life as a teenager and humanity in general. Without being pretentious whatsoever, HOMEROOM DIARIES draws attention to such diverse issues as managing the pressures of high school, depression and suicide, misjudging a person before truly allowing oneself to know them and unifying vastly different people by emphasizing the common aspects of humanity that they all share. HOMEROOM DIARIES exemplifies the idea that every person is the way they are for a reason, a notion that can lead to increased acceptance and appreciation for our fellow human beings.

I would recommend the novel to any teenager who refuses to conform to the norms of our society. I would further recommend it to anyone with a taste for graphic novels or comic books, or anyone who enjoys a light-hearted, quick-read which is full of humor. Ultimately, however, HOMEROOM DIARIES is about loving oneself and those around you, so I guess you could say anyone with a heart could relate to and enjoy this novel.

Reviewed by Charlotte L., Teen Board Member on July 23, 2014

Homeroom Diaries
by James Patterson and Lisa Papademetriou

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: jimmy patterson
  • ISBN-10: 0316207586
  • ISBN-13: 9780316207584