Author: Erin Dionne
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