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by Maria Boyd

THE CRIMEIt all started when Will mooned the girls' school bus. It wasn't his finest moment. And it's the last time William Armstrong will sully the St. Andrew's community, says Principal Waddlehead-er, Waverton.THE PUNISHMENTThat's when a teacher worried about Will's home situation comes up with an idea. Why not let Will, a talented guitarist, give back to the school in a progressive manner? Why not have him play in . . . THE SCHOOL MUSICAL?THE MUSICALNow Will is stuck in the school production of The Boy Friend. He's a laughingstock, and he has to give up his weekends for a show set at a girls' finishing school.THE PLAYERSThere's the trombone-playing seventh grader who proclaims himself Will's best friend and refuses to leave his side. Then there's the undeniably attractive leading lady. Although she might be in love with her costar, the new football hero (and dazzling singer!).Sharp-witted, funny, and poignant all at once, this is the story of a boy going through a difficult time who, in a most unlikely way, discovers the person he truly wants to be.
Download Will epub
ISBN: 0375862099
ISBN13: 978-0375862090
Category: Teen
Subcategory: Literature & Fiction
Author: Maria Boyd
Language: English
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (July 13, 2010)
Pages: 304 pages
ePUB size: 1191 kb
FB2 size: 1736 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 858
Other Formats: lrf txt lrf mbr

As the author of young adult fiction myself, I know that we, as writers, strive to both entertain and instruct with our books. Encouraging young people to read by providing a fun story is paramount, and Maria Boyd, with Will, provides a supremely entertaining story. Her hero Will, from whose perspective she writes, is engaging, funny, and has a uniquely refreshing voice. From the moment you meet Will, you rush to go on his journey with him. Will is also conflicted, as characters should always be to make them real, but I won’t reveal his problem here, for it would have to come with a spoiler alert. Suffice it to say that Will pulls a stunt so heinous that the headmaster at his school decides his punishment will be the ultimate: he is sentenced to participate in the school musical. Now, as a former theater teacher, I don’t like the idea of theater being punishment, but I do know that, like in this novel, participation in school theater is infectious, and anyone who does so, whether by choice or edict, will be won over. And seeing Will won over (and this is not a spoiler, as it is inevitable) is an enjoyable experience. Now, the instructional part of the novel: not only do we learn about the danger of stereotypes, but we learn about coping. And, furthermore, since the novel is set in Australia, there is a wealth of unfamiliar terms, mild expletives, and different school structure that readers are exposed to. This alone can open up a young reader to a new world, and I encourage readers to think before Googling, for most of these unfamiliar things soon become familiar. I was thrown, at first, by the term “footy.” I soon realized this was what Australians call one who plays football. Then, of course, I learned that football in Australia refers to either rugby or soccer. Likewise, I was totally confounded by the word “muso” until it became clear it is Australian slang for musician. So there is a lot to be learned while being entertained by Maria Boyd and her Will. And finally, since my books deal with gay teens, I was pleased to see that there is, indeed, a gay character in Will, and the gay character is treated with sensitivity. Said gay character also is open and out, and that is a plus in a world where all too often gay teens in reality are not comfortable with their sexual orientation. It is wonderful for them to see a good role model. Thank you, Maria Boyd.
Well worth reading. Actually felt close to tears a couple of times during this book. Good if you like coming of age type stories.
No Problem
A great book that is easy for teenagers to relate to. Deals with contemporary issues that makes the growing up process a little more difficult.
Will always assumes that teachers are trying to change him, and he's right. When he moons the bus passing from the girls' school, the administrators at his boys' school punish him by making him play guitar in the band accompanying the school musical. The thing is, Will lost his father the previous year, and he's been acting out ever since. Expulsion, or the school musical? It's Will's choice, but not really much of a choice. His mother has been struggling, too, and he can't let her down.

Will is appalled, of course. Only geeks participate in the school musical, and his social stock is going to drop over this one. He is surly at first, ignoring, not only the musical director and the English teacher who got him into the musical, but the little kid in the band who's totally picked on by all the others. This would be the kid who attaches himself to Will in a hero-worshippy way.

The one person Will can't ignore is Elizabeth, the lead in the musical. (Yep, the girls' school is participating, too!) He tries not to, considering her handsome counterpart, Mark, but he can't help it. Will is head over heels for this girl.

Like Will with his teachers, you will probably notice that author Maria Boyd is trying to teach the reader a lesson or two. After all, Will's English teacher assigns him to write a paper on stereotypes, and Will's stereotyping is a major theme of the book, as is the issue of a student not living up to his potential, most notably as a leader and mentor. Can Will learn to be kind to little social outcasts like Zach? What about performing arts geeks? And gays?

Also, when will this guy deal with his locked-away feelings about his dead father?

So yeah, I found the book pretty message-y, but it was still a lot of fun. Will is written in the first person and has a strong, appealing voice with a nice touch of humor. I think you'll find you're on Will's side as he struggles to get through all of this.

The story takes place in Australia, so a few words and expressions may be unfamiliar to readers in the U.S. But I thought the setting and language added to the book's charm.

I will warn you that all of the dialogue is presented in untagged boldface without any quotation marks. The lack of quote marks isn't as much a problem as the lack of attribution, which means you sometimes need to slow down and sort the characters out.

As for the hot pink cover? Hmm. If you don't think that belongs on a boy book, you're obviously stereotyping!

Note for Worried Parents: There is some profanity in this book, including the F-bomb a few times. Also some talk about girls from teenage boys, though none of it is over-the-top. Aimed at older teens, I would say.