Written by John van de Ruit. (Penguin Books)
Guest Reviewed by Emma Rosmarin, 13, Grade 7
Spud 2 takes place in 1991, when Spud is attending his second year of high school at an elite boarding school in the Natal Midlands. The book juggles between Spud’s privileged boarding school and his small stuffy suburban house in Durban, where he lives with his mom and dad. The plot follows Spud’s adventures with his gang of school friends called the ‘Crazy 8’, his messed up family and his attempts at romance. The Crazy 8 get up to all sorts of naughty things like hiking to Fort Nottingham and Inhlanzane, building a tree house where they store alcohol and cigarettes and the get caught leading to two boys getting expelled.
The realities of life are shown as Spud’s dad is a bit of a racist and an alcoholic who illegally sells homemade moonshine (alcohol) with the maid in the back room. Spud’s mom is also an alcoholic and she constantly threatens to move out of the house and immigrate to England because she thinks South Africa is dangerous. Van de Ruit explores the ways friendship helps with the different challenges of growing up. In the beginning the boys in Spud’s dormitory don’t trust him because he is a ‘scholarship’ boy and they think he will be stuck up. They end up all becoming very close even though they are all so different.
I think this book was very cleverly written and it was like getting into the mind of a fifteen year old boy and it was very entertaining! I enjoyed how I could relate to some of the events that happened in the book, for example dealing with your parents and class mates, as well as the importance of friendship in a teenagers life! I sometimes got bored when Spud wrote about his cricket matches and the points and everyone’s positions. I enjoyed Spud’s dramatic relationships with the girls – The Mermaid and Amanda. I loved the humour of every situation – whether it was Fatty winning the hot dog eating competition or Spud and his family traveling to London where Spud gets left in the middle of Trafalgar square and has to try get a lift back to the hotel!
It was an excellent read and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series Exit, Pursued by a Bear, which will hopefully continue the madness…
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