Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet

Author: Erin Dionne
Pages: 285
Published: Dial, 2010
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Cover Score: A-
Overall Grade: A

Eighth grade isn't going too well for Hamlet Kennedy. Stuck with a less-than-average name, ultra-eccentric Shakespearean scholar parents (who can be seen in public wearing full Renissance Faire regalia), and a genius 7-year old little sister that will be attending middle school with her, Hamlet has a tough time fitting in. School gets worse when Hamlet learns that her English class with be doing an in-depth Shakespeare unit, and on top of that, she's failing pre-algebra, has a not-so-special talent, and someone is hiding origami pigs in her locker. Will Hamlet's eighth grade year be a total tragedy--or will it deserve a standing ovation?
My thoughts: People, let's give Hamlet Kennedy a round of applause. To start, let me just say that I love, love, loved Hamlet. She was clever, funny, honest, and totally lovable. I felt like I could sympathize for her--her life was utterly crazy, but she was never whiny and felt like a very realistic character that I'd love to have as a friend. I also adored the rest of Ham's family--her parents, with their lovable quirkiness, simply spiced up an otherwise straightforward plot and made the story so unique. As did Desdemona ("Dezzie"), Hamlet's little genius sister: her funny speech made me laugh out loud--she was so unique and hilarious!
The book had a nice flow, and was unlike anything I'd ever read before. There were lots of different aspects of the plot that made it continuously interesting, and I was pleased to see how everything neatly worked out in the end. I felt totally involved in the well-written story--I couldn't put it down until I found out what happened to Dezzie's school problems and Ham's secret admirer! I liked Erin Dionne's first novel, Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies, OK, but I loved this one.
Perfect for the middle-grade set, The Total Tragedy has me wanting more of Hamlet!

Must-Read! Check it Out Don't Bother


Juju at Tales of said...

Cutie review and cover.

OnlinePublicist said...

This book sounds so cute!

I really enjoy your enthusiasm and writing style. I have a YA project coming up and would love to offer you a copy for review.

Let me know if you're interested in hearing more about it! :-)

All Best,
Lisa Roe
Online Publicist

Ms. Yingling said...

Hmmm. I found Hamlet a teensy bit annoying. Despite the cute cover, it hasn't gone out as much as I had hoped. I'll have to have students read your review of it!

Anonymous said...

luv the book! :)

Anonymous said...

I love that book, but I wish it said more about what happens in the end... oh well! It was a wonderful book still!

Anonymous said...

I really want to read this!!!!! Can't wait to get it from the library... lol. My niece looooves this book, she's only 6. :)