Books Love Me

A Malaysian Reader's Book Blog

Malarkey by Keith Gray

It’s already bad enough worrying about grades and exams during high school without having to add peer pressure and other juvenile issues like bullying and picking on new kids. Have you ever been the new kid in a new school before? How did your school treat the new ones? Were your classmates nice or nasty to them?

16-year-old John Malarkey is the new kid in town and in school, Brook High. He and his mom have just moved to this new town and his mom decides to open a store selling second hand books. (Wouldn’t I like to live near that one!)

Before this, I have never come across the word ‘malarkey’ before. On the cover of this book, the definition given for the word is ‘bullshit’. Yikes! Imagine having such a name! But I also just looked up and it also means ‘exaggerated or foolish talk, usually intended to deceive’, which in short means ‘bullshit’. Returning to the book, it suits well as the title and the name of the boy. John Malarkey did more than once tried to talk himself out of trouble.

So one day, a beautiful classmate speaks to John and points him out to two other boys who decide to nab his school bag and run away with it. He naturally chases the boys to try to get his bag back. He failed to catch them but needn’t worry because his bag showed up on his desk in his next class. With a stolen teacher’s wallet in it. John is then accused of stealing.

With John taking the blame for a couple of thefts in school, a shady group called the Tailors who loves to wear Adidas shoes, runs the school like never before. They sell stuff like cigarettes and drugs at the tuck shop but the teachers know nothing about it. They also sell signed report cards without teachers’ comments – meaning the students can be their own teacher and write out their own comments!

They don’t even spare the smart kids out of their cunning schemes. The brainy ones make up the Homework Club and they’re forced to do the Tailors’ assignments with no time to concentrate on their own. John then tries to enlist one of the Homework Club kids’ help. What he plans to do is to clear his name as a thief and also to bring down the Tailors. Both in less than 24 hours.

Malarkey is quite an exciting read and felt suspenseful. I also didn’t realize that a few hours in school could feel like a few days! The first 89 pages were focused on what John did after having his bag stolen by the Tailor boys. I thought it went on for days but it’s only hours actually.

You can say that John’s the high school James Bond. A group of trouble makers pick on him, he comes up with plans and tactics, faces the leader of the pack and then figures out on how to proceed from there. Pick up this book to read about how a new kid fights off the bullies in his new school.

Other Reviews: Chicklish

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  1. I really enjoyed reading your review, and thanks a lot for stopping by our site too! I’m bookmarking your site – it’s great! Thanks!

  2. Thanks for being part of 9 for ’09 Reading Challenge.

    I haven’t heard that word “Malarkey” for years. YOu might hear in an American (US) movie from the 1930s or 1940s

    Sounds like a great book for my young relatives to read!

  3. Luisa: Hi, thanks for reading it and for bookmarking my site!

    Isabel: Oh, it’s been used in classic movies?? Cool! Yeah, it’s a good book for both teen boys and girls.


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