Author: Maria Boyd
Release Date: July 13, 2010 (hardcover, first published in 2006)
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC received from publisher through Bookurious
Overall: 4 Stars
It all started when Will mooned the girls' school bus. It wasn't his finest moment. And it's the last time William Armstrong will sully the St. Andrew's community, says Principal Waddlehead-er, Waverton.
That's when a teacher worried about Will's home situation comes up with an idea. Why not let Will, a talented guitarist, give back to the school in a progressive manner? Why not have him play in . . . THE SCHOOL MUSICAL?
Now Will is stuck in the school production of The Boy Friend. He's a laughingstock, and he has to give up his weekends for a show set at a girls' finishing school.
There's the trombone-playing seventh grader who proclaims himself Will's best friend and refuses to leave his side. Then there's the undeniably attractive leading lady. Although she might be in love with her costar, the new football hero (and dazzling singer!).
Sharp-witted, funny, and poignant all at once, this is the story of a boy going through a difficult time who, in a most unlikely way, discovers the person he truly wants to be.
I took my sweet time reading Will, never finding the need to rush through the pages to see what was going to happen at the very end and just simply enjoying the story.
Will is an amusing novel that somehow gets readers to understand the many misconceptions and stereotypes that teenagers (and adults!) make when taking others only for their face value.
Take the main lead, Will, a year 11 student at an all-male Australian boarding school whose spur-of-the-moment mooning of a neighbouring all girls' school bus lands him a role in the school play as his punishment. Everyone knows it's social suicide for older high schoolers such as himself to be in the play, but he has no choice over the matter. Will hasn't been acting himself the past year and although he's disappointed his mother and teachers, they still believe in him... even if Will doesn't even really believe in himself anymore. His sarcastic, light humour only masks the surface of hurt he's gone through, especially where it's related to his father.
I don't get a chance to read novels with male points of views very often but getting inside the mindset of Will just made me wish I had him as a friend. Okay, okay, I'll fess up, I was getting a bit of a crush on him while reading. His funny narration always lighted a smile on my face; he's a sensitive musician type (though he tries to deny it!); and he's an overall good person who knows to apologize and make things right again when he's at fault.
Will may not realize it yet, but maybe- just maybe- this play could be the best thing that's happened to him in a very long time.
I couldn't find Maria Boyd's website, but Random House Australia has a short author profile about her here.