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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