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48 Shades of Brown
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About the Author

Nick Earls is the author of novels including The Fix, Zigzag Street, Bachelor Kisses, The True Story of Butterfish and Perfect Skin and the collection of short stories Welcome to Normal. His work has been published internationally in English and in translation. Zigzag Street won a Betty Trask Award in the UK in 1998, and Perfect Skin was the only novel nominated for an Australian Comedy Award in 2003. 48 Shades of Brown was awarded Book of the Year (older readers) by the Children's Book Council of Australia in 2000, and in the US it was a Kirkus Reviews selection in its books of the year for 2004. 48 Shades of Brown and Perfect Skin have been adapted into feature films, with Solo un Padre, the film adapted from the Italian edition of Perfect Skin, a top-ten box office hit in Italy in 2008. After January, 48 Shades of Brown, Zigzag Street and Perfect Skin have all been successfully adapted for theatre, and the Zigzag Street play toured nationally in 2005. The True Story of Butterfish was also performed as a play. He recently published a collection of stories Welcome to Normal and a novel Analogue Men.

Reviews

Gr 9 Up-An insightful, appealing, and very funny novel about a teenage boy whose world is turned upside down when his father takes a job in Geneva and he chooses to stay in Australia to finish school. Dan lives with his 22-year-old Aunt Jacq, who is in a band, and her roommate, Naomi, an attractive psychology major who makes bad choices when it comes to men. Inexperienced and unsophisticated, he quickly falls for Naomi and is devastated when his feelings are not returned. Worse still, he has to listen as she and her jerk of a boyfriend have sex in the room next door. Extremely bright and sensitive, Dan is still learning about women, relationships, and controlling his compulsive behavior. His excessive introspection sometimes slows the pace of the novel, but the character feels genuine. Dan's socially awkward, porn-obsessed friend, Chris Burns, adds comic relief. The party Jacq and Naomi throw toward the end of the story leads to a conclusion that is both hilarious and moving. Dan is a wonderful, complex character. He combines his intense curiosity about sex with a rare thoughtfulness as he tries to figure out who he is and who he wants to become. Teen boys-and girls-will find much that they can relate to in this coming-of-age story.-Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Reading nearly 300 pages of musings and speculations from a 16-year-old may not be everyone's cup of tea, but those who share narrator Dan's dry sense of humor and intellectual bent will find some very funny-even brilliant-moments in this Australian import. The story begins with Dan eagerly testing the waters of independence while his parents are away in Geneva, Switzerland, and about to enter his senior year. Dan is thrilled to be living with his hip, university student aunt, Jacq (who is only six years older than Dan), but it takes some adjustment for him to move from his parents' "beige," well-organized home to Jacq's chaotic, blue-green abode. While staying with his aunt Jacq, Dan ponders some minor mysteries of the universe (such as why author Neville W. Cayley chooses to use precisely "forty-eight shades of brown" to describe the species of birds in his guidebook). Dan also struggles with the more mundane puzzles of doing laundry and making an edible batch of pesto. Most of the narrator's meandering thoughts end up zeroing in on Jacq's roommate Naomi, a "flaxen-haired-love-goddess," who sets Dan's hormones raging whenever she waters her basil plants. Dan's growing infatuation with Naomi and his attempts to impress her become the main focus of the novel, paving the way to a series of wittily expressed blunders. Through Dan's voice, Earls perfectly captures the obsessive, self-conscious, confused state of mind that goes along with adolescence. A vibrant rendition of growing pains. Ages 14-up. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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