Children’s Book Reviews

Children's Book Reviews: How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue

Publish October 16, 2015

Zoologist-turned-author Jess Keating’s latest YA novel, How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue, is the third book in her hilariously quirky, award-nominated middle-grade series My Life is a Zoo about the oh-so-awkward plateaus and pitfalls of adolescence. How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue picks up where How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel left off, except that Ana Wright, her parents (employees at the local zoo), and her twin brother, Daz, no longer live at the zoo. Ana’s a few months into Grade 8 with her new friends (including Ashley, a former enemy) and is keenly awaiting becoming a teenager. But life gets complicated when Ana’s long-distance childhood BFF, Liv, visits unexpectedly from New Zealand, complete with purple hair and a new attitude, and Ana learns they’re growing up and growing apart. Not only that, but Ana and boyfriend Kevin have yet to kiss, she gets sprayed by a skunk while volunteering at a local wildlife rescue centre, and she must figure out how to keep old and new friends from meeting at her upcoming birthday party. Forced to make some giant decisions, Ana learns a few key truths about life, love, animals, and herself along the way. “Animal Wisdom” facts that begin each chapter, as well as “Creature Files” (such as “Species Name,” “Life Span,” and “Handling Technique”) for the book’s main characters lend wit and whimsy. And zany antics (Daz “accidentally” letting his pet scorpion loose in Ana’s laundry pile) coupled with laugh-out-loud humour (“Today’s panic attack is brought to you by William Shakespeare. I know. He’s dead, and yet he’s still able to stress me out from the grave.”) are sure to win over even the most reluctant of readers. A sweet, totally relatable day-in-the-life of a teen juggling homework, relationships, and hormones, How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue will leave readers eager for another installment in Keating’s clever, lighthearted series.

How to Outfox Your Friends When You Don’t Have a Clue

Jess Keating
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
ISBN 13: 9781492617945

Jennifer D. Foster
Jennifer D. Foster Jennifer D. Foster is a Toronto-based freelance editor, mentor, and writer, specializing in book and custom publishing, magazines, and marketing and communications. She loves kidlit, greyhounds, Japan, pumpkin pie and yard sales.  

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