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Voss by David Ives
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Voss

by David Ives

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On beginning this novel, I thought "well, this could be really offensive." It came off as a young teen version of the movie "Borat." But it turned out to be rather more substantial than that. An illegal immigrant boy from a fictional country gets caught up in the "movie" that is America and finds himself involved with a teen celebutante and caught up in the midst of a medical intrigue Light reading for when you're in the mood for goofy humor. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

I predict that Voss will be the next cult-hero in tween and YA fiction. At least I think he's going to be popular with the readers in my middle school.

Vospop (Voss) Vsklzwczdztwczky, his father, and his crazy uncle come to America from their native Slobovia. They are illegal immigrants who smuggle themselves into a shipping container filled with $100,000 worth of counterfeit Cheese Puffs. Using a series of letters sent back home to his friend Meero, Voss shares the trials and tribulations of being new to America.

Voss's first letter begins as follows: "You won't believe this my friend. We made it out of Slobovia! We are bound for America! We have smoggled ourselves aboard a great big sheep, the cargo freighter SSS Windmill. And Meero, we are headed for dipp, dipp trobble."

The travelers arrive safely in America and settle in the illegal Slobovian section of the city. That's when Voss's adventures begin. He is surprised to be greeted by Leena, the girl from Slobovia fated to be his wife. Even though she is fixated on this future union, Voss has serious doubts about having this overenthusiastic, over-sized girl as his wife.

Voss realizes he must find a job, but things start off in the wrong direction when his simple attempt to travel by subway earns him only some unpleasant taunting and a foot-long submarine sandwich. Who knew an eating place could be confused with mass transportation?

Amazingly, Voss is able to keep track of his crazy uncle, his gloomy father, and avoid the angry owner of the counterfeit Cheese Puffs (Chiss Poffs), long enough to meet a beautiful and extremely rich American girl whose father offers him the astonishing salary of $100,000 to act as her escort. Maybe America really is the land of opportunity, but how long can it last?

David Ives has created an incredible character and a story to match. Voss is an adventurer, a patriot, a bit of a detective, and a brave young man who is bound to entertain readers from the first page until the last. Voss's story is heart-warming and humor-filled. I certainly hope this will not be his last adventure. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
Ives, D. (2008). Voss: How I Come to America and am Hero, Mostly. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

9780399247224

Voss, as the title may hint at, is the story of fifteen-year-old Vospop Vsklzwczdztwczky, how he emigrates from Slobovia, a made up country that feels vaguely Eastern European, to the U.S.A. and becomes a hero to many illegal immigrants in New York City…mostly.

Written as a series of letters to his friend, Meero in Slobovia, Voss writes using invented spellings to capture his accent. The invented spelling may serve to make reading this book impossible for some struggling readers while it may also be a source of great amusement for readers who can decipher the words. (Amusing popular culture references and even the occasional swear word are hidden in among the alternate spellings)

Voss’s letters include critiques of American culture, the medical system and the treatment of illegal immigrants. This book could be used to challenge a lot of the assumptions many suburban, middleclass students have about the world.

Although intended for a teen audience, I feel like a lot of the humor will appeal to eleven to thirteen-year-old boys who have advanced literacy skills.

Activities to do with the book:

Voss could trigger a discussion of illegal immigration in America and the stereotypes, discrimination and lowered status often attributed to the immigrant population. Other possible discussions include contemplation over the class system in the country, the power of the media, and the process of legal and illegal organ donation.

The book could be used to trigger a class pen pal exchange with students in another country or even with students from another classroom.

Favorite Quotes

“I am no brave boy, Meero, as you know. I am what is called in Eenglish a “worry wart.” This is what we call in Slobovian a furri fart. America has no place for furri farts!” (p. 2).

“Soon I found a sign for Subway and walked in. Two peemply boys in silly white hats and rubber gloves stood behind a counter among strange phosphorescent foods…I was surprised that this Subway was a shop for sandwiches and not a train station. Here were sandwiches. Where were all the trains?” (p. 31).

“I was peevish, Meero. And peevishness is a great evil! As you know, peevishness is one of the Twelve Pretty Big Sins. The others are whining, carping, barking, moping, nose-picking, nose-picking-and-flicking-your-snot-into-the-air-instead-of-a-handkerchief, buttox-pinching, telling a joke badly, popping your chewing gum, whistling without a tune, and urinating outside the bowl without wiping it up” (pp. 9-10).

WHICH OF THE TWELVE PRETTY BIG SINS DO YOU COMMIT THE MOST OFTEN?

For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com
  SJKessel | Feb 2, 2009 |
Vospop Vsklzwczdztwczky (AKA Voss) smuggles himself into America along with his father and uncle from the country of Slobovia. Voss' adventures in a new land will have kids laughing from the start. Clever word play and pop culture references help this satire easy readability, and I definitely found myself laughing out loud quite a bit. Although a few of the side characters are definite stereotypes, this book is still a fun time. ( )
  jenniferthomp75 | Jun 26, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 039924722X, Hardcover)

In a series of letters home to his friend Meero, Vospop Vsklzwczdztwczky (Voss for short) tells the hilarious story of how he smuggles himself to America in a crate of black-market cheese puffs with his gloomy father Bogdown and his nutty uncle Shpoont.

Settling into the rundown Slobovian section of town, Voss soon finds his first job by opening the door for debutante Tiffany McBloomingdale (an unheard-of act of politeness), rescues his father from a sinister hospital, and even gets the girl of his dreams, though not the one he expects!

Through Voss?s comically broken English, readers will find a remarkably fresh view of America. Brimming with pointed satire, a healthy dose of action, and a one-of-a-kind narrator, Voss?s crazy adventures are sure to leave a lasting impression.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:49 -0400)

Through a series of letters home, fifteen-year-old Vospop "Voss" Vsklzwczdztwczky shares his experiences as he is smuggled out of Slobovia in a crate of black-market cheese puffs, tries to find a job in an American city, and foils a sinister plot.

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