Published by Omnibus Books on May 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia
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It really all started with The Pain. He officially came into my life exactly nine weeks and one day before our Year Ten Graduation Dance. And despite my very best efforts to wipe the day from my mind, I can still remember it clearly. It was a Friday. The thirteenth day of the month. Notice anything there?
Maggie Butt is facing not only a stranger taking over her mother's life but her own as well, and she is not going to let that happen. But then there's the one-eyed snaggle-toothed cat, senior subject choices, the dream date and Cyber Boy, the geek in the library to contend with as well.
It's going to be an interesting year.
The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me is about exactly that. It’s a bit of a slice-of-life story, following fifteen-year-old Maggie and the weeks leading up to her Year Ten Graduation Dance. During these few weeks, her mother gets a new boyfriend, who Maggie immediately finds a pain, hence the nickname The Pain. And the presence of The Pain brings a lot of other drama into Maggie’s life, such as Sir Tiffy, a cat that looks like it came off the set of The Walking Dead. But through all the hilarious drama and embarrassing moments, this novel is a heartwarming one of family and love.
Maggie is about to graduate Year Ten and she has only three goals for the year: make one good friend at her high school, find a partner for the Graduation Dance and get an overall A for English. But none of those things are going well and Maggie is starting to panic. It doesn’t help that The Pain is constantly trying to worm his way into her life and Sir Tiffy, the cat with one eye, an ear infection and a snaggle-tooth is constantly drooling, roaring and peeing all over the place. Maggie doesn’t understand why these things are happening to her but she’s keen to end the embarrassment in her life and to maybe achieve one of her goals. What I loved most about the plot was how relatable it was. We all have embarrassing moments as a teenager and it was so easy to connect with Maggie’s story because every thought and action of hers felt like it had been mine at some point. I also really loved Maggie’s voice. She had a really strong and funny voice and it was extremely enjoyable and entertaining to read. It also helped me to stay in the story and it kept me interested, despite it being a slice-of-life story with no real plot, climax and resolution.
“Much like life in general, Maggie – yours, mine, Patrice’s, everyone’s. It’s never just one thing or the other, is it? It’s good and bad, joys and sorrows, highs and lows all mixed in together. And you can’t just pull out the bits you don’t like, because everything’s… connected.”
The characters were all extremely likeable in this novel. Like I mentioned, Maggie was extremely easy to connect with but so were the other characters. I enjoyed how laid back Maggie’s mother was and how normal her family was. The Pain, as embarrassing he was at times, was also very easy to connect with and related to. But it was seeing how the relationships between the characters developed throughout the book that was the best part of the reading experience for me. I loved seeing Maggie and The Pain’s relationship grow into one that accepting and supportive. And I also really enjoyed seeing Maggie warm to Sir Tiffy… because pets!
This novel is definitely appropriate for a younger YA audience. There is some romance but it was definitely not a ‘mature’ kind of relationship. The romance also wasn’t at the forefront of the novel, which I really appreciated because I love a good book that focuses on family and other aspects of life. But even though I think that this book is great for a younger audience, I didn’t feel that I was too old for it, which is sometimes the case with certain contemporary novels. I really enjoyed the themes of the book and I loved Maggie’s funny and sarcastic voice, and these things kept me in the book.
The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me is a funny and entertaining read that delves into themes that I love reading about in contemporary YA: family and love. I especially loved the main character’s voice and the relationship between all of the characters. It’s a sweet and heartwarming novel and I highly enjoyed it.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thank you to Scholastic Australia for providing a review copy of the book.
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I like such light stories with the heart, and I’m happy to hear that that you were able to connect with characters. Maggie sounds lovely. I like the sound of this story and want to give it a try despite it being on younger side of YA. Wonderful review, Jenna! And thanks for putting this book on my radar.
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Maggie was a lovely character. She was very sarcastic at times but was just really relatable and easy to connect with. It is geared towards a bit of a younger YA audience but I think it would be enjoyable for a reader of any age!
I totally agree with your review – it's definitely a book for younger YA readers and there isn't much of a plot. Although I didn't love the start of the novel, the end of the book was really nice and quite heartwarming! Glad you enjoyed it too! 🙂
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I wasn't sure what to expect going into the book so I was a little hesitant as well but it just grew and grew on me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was definitely heartwarming and I just loved all the family elements in the book and the very relatable coming of age story! Also the Pain was kinda awesome!
Aww, this sounds adorably cute Jenna, I love books for early teens making their way into the world. It's such an awkward age and I think using humour is a brilliant tool for teens to relate. Such a warmhearted coming of age. I have a copy of this one too but put it on the backburner because it didn't seem like my type of read. Definitely whipping it out now. Wonderful review Jenna, so glad you really enjoyed it <3
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I definitely agree, Kelly. I really enjoy coming of age books about teens who are a little bit awkward and trying to figure out how they fit in. I really liked this book because of that and thought the main character was very relatable. It's a super quick read so I hope you whip this one out and give it a go!
how do you find these books? everytime I come here, you always review something so different from other YA reviewers and that makes me kind of happy heh. I've seen this one one other time and the review wasn't as positive, but I am glad to hear you loved it. I always adore good family dynamics in YA
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Awww thank you so much! We definitely get a huge range of books to review haha. And some of them end up being hidden gems, like this one! I can see why other people might not like it but I loved its simplicity and the humour of the book. The main character was so relatable and I really enjoyed the book.
Great review! This book sounds so lighthearted and fun, which I feel a lot of YA is moving away from. Definitely adding this to my TBR!
I definitely enjoyed how lighthearted it was and how simple the story was. It was just what I needed at the time.
Although it's quite a young and light novel, I can tell that you really enjoyed it Jenna! I'm glad that Maggie was a funny character to get behind even though there wasn't much plot to the novel. Lovely review!
I actually enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. You probably remember my reluctant face when I was at your house HAHA. It was a lot of fun to read. Plus, it was so matchy matchy with the other book that I couldn't not take it 😀