Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend, by Steven Herrick

My new teacher
…casually sits on her desk
before asking us
to tell her something, one thing,
that we like about ourselves.
Selina, Mick, Cameron, Pete and Rachel
raise their hands
while I sink as low as possible
behind my desk.

Verse novels have the ability to take the reader right into the heart of characters’ lives and thoughts in a very special way. And few verse novelists do it better than Steven Herrick. In Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend he presents the life of a class of year 6 students in a small country town. Mick is the school captain, and a leader, but seems to always be in trouble. Pete is struggling to cope with his grandpa’s death, and Laura fights shyness as she tries to find a way to fit it. Selina is popular buts he’s obsessed with Cameron who in turn is obsessed with the mysterious Pookie Aleera. New teacher Ms Arthur is new to this world, but the school groundskeeper Mr Korsky has been around for ever, and has seen it all before – almost.

The use of the verse novel form allows the reader to see the story form multiple perspectives, and each character has a perspective both unique and endearing. There are moments of poignancy, of sorrow and of humour, in a tale of friendship and belonging and of grief and moving on. Each character must find his or her place in the shifting world of the school and beyond.

This is a welcome return to the verse novel form for Herrick, and fans will be delighted.

Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend

Pookie Aleera is Not My Boyfriend, by Steven Herrick
UQP, 2012
ISBN 9780702249280

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