All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall

All Shook Up. Shelley Pearsall. Knopf Books for Young Readers, c.2008. 272 pages.


Thirteen-year-old Josh Greenwood calls himself a “shared kid.” This is because he’s spent the past eight years (ever since his parents’ divorce) being shuttled back and forth between two homes almost a thousand miles apart. However, he’s still not pleased when he’s sent to Chicago to stay with his dad for awhile. He’s even less pleased when he arrives there. That’s because it turns out his dad has lost his job and is now an Elvis impersonator. His dad also has a new girlfriend with a hippie daughter whose his age. Josh begins attending a new school, terrified his classmates will discover the truth about his dad.

Review/personal thoughts:

Shelley Pearsall’s novel All Shook Up hilariously tackles an issue all tweens must face: embarrassing parents! Josh is already unhappy with the idea of staying with his dad in Chicago while his mom takes care of her mother, but when he arrives to find that his father has lost his job as a shoe salesman and is now working as an Elvis impersonator, he discovers the situation is even worse than he’d thought. Josh is terrified that the kids at his new school will discover the truth about his father. The funniest thing about this book is that more Josh tries to avoid attention, the more attention is called to him! Tweens will relate to Josh’s desperate embarrassment and be able to laugh with him.

Genre: contemporary realistic

Reading/interest level: ages 9 to 12


nominated for the Young Hoosier Book Award

nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Book Award

Similar titles: Deliver Us From Normal by Kate Klise

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