OK, I have to be honest here. I wouldn't normally have read The Greatest Blogger in the World. Not because it's not good - because it is - but because it's aimed at kids aged between about eight and twelve. And that's a demographic I haven't fitted into for some decades now.
But Andrew's a terrific writer as well as being a terrific person, and besides, the book has one of the best covers I've ever seen, so I couldn't resist. And I'm glad I didn't because I loved this book. Andrew uses his many talents, which include a whacky sense of humour and great inventiveness, to tell an exciting story.
Charlie Ridge pretends to be dumb. If his schoolmates knew how smart he was they'd call him a nerd or a teacher's pet. Inspired by James Bond, Charlie wants to Be the Hero, Get the Girl and Save the Day, and the girl he wants to get - the fearsome Boots - is already the Teacher's Pet. She especially can't feel he's a threat to her position.
Charlie also wants to win the Greatest Blogger in the World competition, and that's when his troubles really begin.
The book poses many questions that draw the reader on: Can Charlie stop Cardboard from sharing his crush on the Boots? Will Charlie's best friend Phattius Beats ever forgive him? What are the school monitors really up to? Who stole the school mascot? Who is reading Charlie's blog? And will Charlie's little brother ever stop wearing a tuxedo to kindergarten?
The questions pile up, the characters are original and the story moves along at a cracking pace. It's hard to put down.
There are other underlying questions as well, that give the book a more serious dimension, such as should corporations play a role in schools, and can you be your real self and still fit in?
I enjoyed the book a lot; I laughed out loud at some bits. And then when I'd finished I found I couldn't stop thinking about the characters and wondering what they were up to now. I especially wondered about Charlie and what he'd be like when he grew up. Whether he'd be anything like Andrew McDonald, children's author and all round good guy?