Hedley Hopkins has a few problems: he is the new kid at school, straight off the boat from England in the 1950s. The only friends he has made are the kids at the Loony Bin. But if he could just fulfil a dare and dig out the hideous skull hidden in a grave in the sand dunes, he could impress the bullies at school and become their friend. But Hedley is not so sure. Weird things are happening to his body. Is he being punished for his terrible actions? And if his uptight parents ever found out what he was up to, they might blow up.
Full-moon murderers, an open grave, religious conversions, and sexual awakening meld sometimes poignantly, sometimes hilariously, in this riveting, stunningly original account of growing up in 1950s Australia.
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This offbeat coming-of-age story is Paul Jennings's first YA novel. Based on his own life, it portrays a boy's adjustment after he and his family emigrate from England to Australia. Hedley worries about what kind of dare he will have to do to be accepted at his new school, the possibility of someone discovering his "wicked deeds," and ways to avoid "the loonies," who come out to murder people on nights of the full moon. Jerome Pride, having trained in both the UK and Australia, has both the heart and accent to give Hedley his voice. Listeners will cheer as Hedley navigates the maze of puberty to find his place in the world. N.E.M. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
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