Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel by Michael Gerard Bauer reviewed by Jill Smith
What a brilliant conclusion to Ishmael Leseur’s education. It starts with the ultimate let down, Kelly Faulkner saying farewell in an email, and the rest of the year looked like it would spiral down from there. Luckily for Ishmael he had his fab five friends to cheer him up. Razz was still the same madcap take on any challenge dude, and being a mate decided he needed to find a new girlfriend for his buddy. This could be great or a total disaster. For Ishmael having Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome meant that it would most likely be a disaster. James Scobie a leader extraordinaire, Prindabel the power pointer, Ignatius the all knowing, and Bill Kingsley who had trimmed down over the break by hooping, were the others in their dynamic debating team. They happily pointed out the many flaws in Razz’s first plan. Fixing Ishmael up with his cousin Cindy could only lead to trouble.
The teachers form a constant reminder that school for the seniors in Year 11 was not going to be easy. They were led into the year with the ‘I AM WOMAN’ anthem courtesy of Ms H, while Mr Barker still the undisputed Sultan of Sarcasm kept them on their toes. Their Charlton House Patron, Miss Tarango, who had them all under her spell, with her dimple and irresistible take on all the work load thrown at me ethics, they would do anything for her. The sports master Mr Hardcastle was hard no nonsense tolerated zone, Mr Guthrie the cause fighting Homeroom hero would become an awesome coach.
This is, for an older audience, something along the lines of Adrian Moles Diary but funnier, clever in almost every way. The easy conversation between the friends and the obstacles faced by just getting through the year to attack Year 12 and complete their schooling, such a reflection of a teenage life that it is scarily realistic. Needless to say I loved the ‘Tarango Challenge’ and how James Scobie got Charlton House to win one point at a time to present their patron with the College Cup, if they could.
Needless to say, I loved this book as I’ve loved this series. Young adults are treated here to a LOL ride. This creative and talented author has created a winning combination.