by Katie Maxwell

ISBN: 0-8439-5251-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Dorchester Publishing
Mass Market Paperback

To say Emily Williams is unhappy about her family's move from Seattle to a small village in England, is the understatement of the millennium. Her father, who goes by the nickname Brother, is a medieval scholar, and is given an opportunity to lecture and study while his family lives in the village of Piddlington-on-the-weld. It is a far cry from Seattle, where Emily lives between two malls and a water park. She is only able to bring two suitcases of clothes with her and is freaked out when there seems to be a ghost haunting their old British house that likes to ransack her underwear drawer.

She feels like a real "fish out of water" her first day of school. It is already embarrassing enough that Brother has decided she needs to be in the Fifth form rather than the Sixth as other kids her age. Then she discovers her flair for wearing her uniform tie and her makeup and extra earring piercings are not going to make her popular. The redeeming points are meeting some "nice lads":the "hunkalicious" Aidan with his mustache, Devon and Fang. Holly becomes a chum after she helps Emily hunt down Oded Fehr, the movie star, with whom Emily is so obsessed she uses him in her email address.

This book is written all in emails, which has become a popular style and is one that makes a book even more fun to read. Emily addresses most of these emails to her friend Dru back in Seattle and we do hear some from Dru, but mainly in response to Emily.

This book is a charming coming of age story that can be enjoyed not only by young adult readers, but the young at heart. The protagonist is a "drama queen", but engaging in her vulnerability and learns things that some adults never seem to come to terms with. The Year My Life Went Down The Loo is part of the SMOOCH line from Dorchester Publishing. If the other authors are as talented as Ms. Maxwell, it should be highly successful. This book was left open ended so I am hoping for a sequel.

Roberta Austin

Reviewed in October 2003 by Roberta.

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