Reader Reviewed My Messed-Up Life by Susin Nielsen

My Messed-Up Life

Written by Susin Nielsen

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

June 2018 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Problem parents | Dealing with change | Loads of LOLs |

Hilarious and heartfelt Judy Blume-brilliant tale of a girl who’s struggling to come to terms with her parents’ divorce. Oh, and George Clooney makes a cameo appearance too.

From the off, this novel fizzes with energy and funniness (the cat poo/stepsister incident is truly inspired), but beneath the laughs, the hilarious detective episodes and slapstick moments, Violet is struggling to come to terms with the fact that her director dad has moved to LA and has new twin daughters with a younger actress. To make matters worse, after serial-dating a succession of loser boyfriends, Mom has now hooked up with the dorkiest guy imaginable. Even worse still, he’s called Dudley Wiener. Something must be done! And so with typical verve, Violet writes to her mom’s celebrity love, George Clooney, in the hope that they’ll hook up. Then, a fortunate turn of events (plus some conniving) present Violet with an opportunity to actually meet him… What could possibly go wrong?

Fast-paced and featuring a fabulous cast of side characters (especially best friend Phoebe and love interest Jean-Paul), this is a riotously funny read with an inspiring lightly-told message - “You have to be open to new experiences. You have to take the good with the bad.” ~ Joanne Owen

Reader Reviews

In addition to our LoveReading expert opinion some of our LoveReading4Kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Megan, age 17 - 'It took me a bit to get into this book, but when I did, I really enjoyed it. For me it was a light read, however that didn’t mean that the plot or the writing was anything less than superb.'
  • Linda Brown, adult - 'How have I not read anything else by this author? I Could not put it down, seriously I read it in one sitting.'
  • Ella O'Gorman, age 13 - 'A hilarious, side splittingly funny page turner, that's brilliantly mixed with insights into the effect of divorce on a family. It's sure to be a hit.'
  • Humaira Kauser, age 20 - 'It was laugh-out-loud funny with the touching moments throughout- A classic Nielsen book from what I have learnt.'
  • Jasmine, age 11 Thorp Academy - ' It made me want to cry out and laugh at the same time.'
  • Amelia, age 18 -'I really enjoyed this book, both the characters and storyline was brilliant. I would recommend this book to any young teens.'

Win the Skulduggery Pleasant series, SIGNED by the author!

The 11 instalment in the best-selling Skulduggery Pleasant series, Midnight, is out in hardback on 31 May. To celebrate this we are giving away THREE prizes of all 11 books in the series, SIGNED by the author Derek Landy and delivered in a special Skulduggery Pleasant tote bag!

To have a chance of winning one of these great prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. Draw closes on 28 June 2018. The winners will be notified by 12 July 2018.

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 28/06/2018


My Messed-Up Life by Susin Nielsen

Violet is not impressed with her TV director dad: he's decided to abandon his family in Vancouver to start over with a new younger wife in LA. To Violet, it's like he's traded his old life for a better one - complete with new and improved children. To make matters worse, her mom has taken up with a dorky new man called Dudley Wiener. Violet decides to take control. She needs a new stepfather who is perfect, charming and will show Dad what he's missing: she needs George Clooney, Hollywood superstar.


Sassy and candid... Especially affecting are Violet's struggles to accept her father's new family and her devotion to both her mother and Rosie. A bonus: Clooney makes a cameo -- starred review Publishers Weekly

Nielsen has created a story that is both funny and touching and well worth the read. Highly recommended CM Magazine

Laugh-out-loud humor deftly mixes with insight into a troubled girl's pain over her parents
divorce, keeping readers involved on every page ... This comic novel scores Kirkus

Violet is a complex, appealing character ... a very engaging read Booklist

A lot of cleverness and fun ... Some delectable secondary characters (and) a couple of lovely plot twists ... Buy it National Post

About the Author

Susin Nielsen

Susin Nielsen got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for many Canadian TV series. Nielsen's first two young adult novels, Word Nerd and Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, received critical acclaim and multiple Young Readers' Choice Awards. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen won the prestigious Governor General's Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year and many Young Readers' Choice Awards. She lives in Vancouver with her family and two extremely destructive cats.

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Book Info


224 pages
Interest Age: From 12 years


Susin Nielsen
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Andersen Press Ltd

Publication date

7th June 2018




Publisher Profile

Andersen Press Ltd is an imprint of Andersen Press

logo Andersen Press is one of the leading independent children’s publishers, publishing some of the biggest names in the world of children's books including the much-loved picture book characters the Little Princess and Elmer the patchwork elephant. Andersen Press is the home of many award-winning authors and illustrators including Melvin Burgess, Rebecca Stead, Satoshi Kitamura, Tony Ross, David McKee, Chris Judge and Jeanne Willis. Founded in 1976 by Klaus Flugge it won the Bologna Best Children’s Publisher prize in the European Category in 2016, the company’s 40th anniversary year.

Publisher's Website

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