Will, by Maria Boyd

Each boy was programmed to recognise Waddlehead’s walk from twenty metres away. Each boy also knew what it meant.
It became deadly quiet.
The boys parted, creating a guard of honour delivering me to my fate. No way round it.
Busted. Busted bad.
Walk with me immediately, Mr Armstrong.

Will probably should have stopped and thought before he mooned the girls’ school bus which had broken down at the front of his own school. But he didn’t stop or think, and now he’s in big trouble. This is the latest in a line of silly things which Will has done, and he’s in big trouble. The adults all reckon it’s because of what happened six months ago, but Will doesn’t know what they’re on about – nor does he want to know.

As a strange form of his punishment, Will is made to join the school band, performing in the school musical. This is the worst punishment Will could ever have imagined. Being in the play is something only nerds will consider – and Will is no nerd. But he seems to have attracted a new best friend who is – a year 7 trombone-playing geek, who thinks Will is the best thing since sliced bread. Then there are the two leads in the musical – one is the most beautiful girl Will has ever seen, the other is a rugby-playing jock who is new to the school and doesn’t seem to know or care that singing and dancing are not cool. Will is not going to get sucked into this whole new world – nor is he going to face the events of six months ago.

Will is a funny yet touching tale of fitting in, falling in love and coping with grief. Will is a likeable main character whose first person voice draws the reader in. We want to know just what has happened to his father, who seems to be the key factor in whatever happened six months ago, and, above all, we want to see things work out for Will, who seems to keep making mistakes even as he works to resolve them.

This is a light novel which deals with serious subjects in a way which is both real and compelling, without being maudlin or unrealistic.

Will, by Maria Boyd
Random House, 2006