My Messed-Up Life

Publisher: Andersen Press

Violet is not in the best place. Her parents have split up, her dad's moved to Los Angeles with his new actress wife (and their twins), and her mum keeps going on dates with truly awful men.

But when Violet's mum introduces her latest beau Dudley Weiner, it's a step too far – and Violet knows that something must be done. So with the help of her best friend Phoebe, she puts a plan into action: it's time for George Clooney to become her new stepdad.

My Messed-Up Life is another funny, well-observed story from Susin Nielsen. Violet can be an infuriating character, but her protectiveness for her mother and her suspicions about new men on the scene are heartbreakingly realistic.

It's a joy to relish Violet's naughty side, but it's also apparent that there's something more going on under the surface; luckily, Neilsen handles this with a lightness of touch to stop the book from ever becoming dark. Instead, it's a bouncy read with characters to whom readers will soon feel a strong attachment.

A surprising (if slightly silly) ending just adds to the fun of this warm, thoughtful book.

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