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Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight by…

Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight

by Rebecca Sparrow, Nick Earls

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565210,933 (3.77)2

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I have been trying to get my hands on this book for so long, and finally I managed to get the audiobook from audible, and it was so worth the wait.

Fantastic book, with strong characters. I really enjoyed it.

Full review on my website www.the-book-tower.blogspot.co.uk ( )
  bookish92 | Mar 20, 2014 |
A guy and a girl writing a story together about a guy and a girl writing a story together. You've got to admit: that's a pretty good idea. Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight is a 'tandem story' between Nick Earls and Rebecca Sparrow. They take it in turns – Earls writes one chapter for Joel, and then Sparrow writes one chapter for Cat, and so on. The novel opens strongly enough, but the pace soon hits an inevitable snag. Having two narrators means having two separate orientations, which slows the proceedings down a bit. The 'main complication' doesn't actually occur until halfway through the novel, (which, on the plus side, gives readers time to grapple with two different sets of characters.)

Once we get settled in, however, and Earls and Sparrow get warmed up, things start to look a lot better. There's plenty of storyline to sustain the novel while we wait for the halfway point, and plenty of humour to keep readers amused. Without a doubt, the highlight of the novel is watching Earls and Sparrow pull each other's writing to pieces with vindictive gusto – these sections are nothing short of hilarious. Earls and Sparrow are clearly also very tuned in to teenagers; they use plenty of familiar locations, products and situations to create humour that teen-readers can relate to. The characters are so realistic that they could have been pulled out of just about any high school in Australia. (The similarities between Cat Davis and my best friend are scary.)

Inevitably, however, having two writers in one book invites comparison between them, and this comparison reveals . . . well, not much. The only noticeable difference between the two authors is that Sparrow's writing is slightly wittier. Joel and Cat are characterised well, but their characterisation unfortunately does not extend to their writing style. This is a shame – I was very much looking forward to seeing Earls and Sparrow experiment with stylistic contrast.

It may not be extraordinary, but Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight is clever enough to keep readers interested and funny enough to keep them smiling. If you are a teenager, and you get a kick out of really being able to relate to your reading, then this is the book for you. Thanks to Earls and Sparrow for a highly enjoyable read.
  SamuelW | Jun 16, 2009 |
This is a great tandem novel, both authors have done a great job of writing their side of the story. ( )
  JEbbott | Oct 30, 2008 |
Two authors results in half the impact for this weak teen novel. No matter now many pop culture references (already out of date a year after publication -- remember Paris Hilton's singing career?) and brand names they throw in, nothing will disguise the predictability of the plot: Joel and Cat must collaborate on an assignment, Cat's attempt to bring her separated parents back together pushes her father into the arms of Joel's mother, hijinks ensue. Sparrow's sections have at times a bittersweet ring of emotional truth; Earls just piles on the wisecracks and hopes for the best. Not one I'll be recommending. ( )
  lizbee | Aug 11, 2008 |
Nick Earls is back to his brilliant best after a few lame efforts. He and Rebecca Sparrow write alternating chapters of a novel about 2 Yr 11 students forced to write a short story together. Joel is in the process of “outing” his mother’s boyfriend who is pretending to be from El Salvador when in fact he’s from Queensland.(This involves a good cop/bad cop routine by Joel and his elderly neighbour Betty and some dodgy Old El Paso, and made me laugh out loud!) Cat’s mother is having a mid-life crisis and leaves, so Cat must help her Dad ( who turns orange and wears hawaiian shirts)and little brother pick up the pieces. Joel and Cat also have to sort out between them a little misunderstanding that happened 15 months ago when cat saw Joel with another girl while he was going out with her best friend Emma and it turns out this girl was his sister! There is also some truly awful moments for our heroes when they turn up to Sizzler and discover their parents are on a "not date" together! This book has mild swearing, some discussion about sex and (unfortunately for the character involved) an anal medical examination! Despite this it is very engaging, funny and will appeal to older teenage readers. Highly recommended
  nicsreads | Sep 6, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rebecca Sparrowprimary authorall editionscalculated
Earls, Nickmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight is two weeks in the life of Joel Hedges and Cat Davis. Joel would prefer to get through his final year of high school without Cat Davis or his mother's faux Spanish boyfriend and just hang-out with his best-friend Luke. Cat Davis has an annoying best-friend, an even more annoying little brother, and a deep abiding hatred of Joel Hedges. Due to an unfortunate incident involving a leaking pen and suspected outbreak of Bird Flu, Joel and Cat are forced to sit next to each other in Extension English. To make matters worse, and to their mutual horror, they are paired together for a tandem story writing assignment. What ensues reveals a lot about how smug teenage boys are and what teenage girls really think. No, wait - it's about a sane female and an insane male. It's about revenge and mistaken identity.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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