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Once Upon A Bookshelf

Where Fiction and Reality Meet

Jolted: Newton Starker’s Rules for Survival

Author: Arthur Slade
Originally Published: 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins Canada

JoltedSome people worry about cancer being genetic. The Starkers worry about death by lightening being genetic. Going back generations, every Starker (except for one of Newton’s very far removed grandfather, who died of cholera) has been struck to death by lightening.

Newton Starker and his great grandmother (a grumpy old lady who swears she only survived because of SPITE) are the last two surviving Starkers. And Newton is determined that lightening will not get him. And so, he enrolls at the Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival, where the students learn how to survive anything. Newton is convinced that this school will teach him everything he needs in order to learn how to survive the threat of death by lightening.

Arthur Slade is a brilliant author who, from what I’ve seen, can tackle different genres, subject matters, and age groups, and do so successfully. I read Megiddo’s Shadow a few months ago, and one of the first things I said to Rachel when I started reading Jolted was that this had better be pretty bloody good if I were going to enjoy it was much as Megiddo. And I did, oh did I ever. It was so different, but had the same quality of story telling. As much as Megiddo had me in tears, Jolted had me giggling out loud.

The characters, oh the characters! Brilliantly developed. Brilliantly hilarious. The setting – ah! A few mentions of the history of Moose Jaw – the Tunnels of Moose Jaw, the history of the surrounding area, etc. – gave more depth to the area the story was in. And the humour – somewhat snarky and yet I can see how it would appeal to both younger and older readers. Specifically enjoyed the classes that Newton had to take:

Mercantile Fitness and Survival – financial training and outdoor survival.
Biology and Survival of the Fittest – along with typical biology subjects, also covers how to avoid and become predators.
Literature and Communications – an English class that teaches how to make smoke signals?
Culinary Arts and Survival – teaching which plants & animals outdoors are edible.
Ethics of Survival – the “taboos and misconceptions that surround survival.”

Dude, that’s almost as great as the classes they take in Marked and I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have to Kill You.

Awesome notes of squee:

  • Newton has a pet pig. Named Josephine. (After Napoleon’s wife, I’m assuming.) She belonged to a man who harvested truffles before Newton acquired her.
  • Newton is obsessed (that word somehow doesn’t seem strong enough) with truffles. Not the chocolate kind – the fungi kind.
  • Kilts! They wear kilts at Jerry Potts Academy. And there is a diagram included in the book.
  • Newton’s favourite recipes are also included in the book. How random and fun is that?
  • This book takes place at a boarding school that is a castle just outside of Moose Jaw. In Saskatchewan. A gothic castle in Saskatchewan!

Done the squeeage for the time being. So yes, fabulously enjoyable and hilarious book.

Bottom Line: If you haven’t read it yet, go buy this book right now. You will not be disappointed!

Posted by Courtney Wilson @ 7:27 pm February 13, 2009.
Category: Young Adult
Book Author(s):
Publisher(s): ,

  • Kailana

    I saw you talking about reading this on facebook with Rachel, so I am happy to see you finished it! Great book, huh? I really liked it!

  • Court

    Kailana – oh, it really was a great book! So much fun!!

  • susan

    Okay, both my sister and I have either been struck by lightning, or had our houses struck by lightning, and I’ve had it strike around cars I’m in, buses I’m getting on, the pathway by the river (on a sunny day no less!) so I’m getting this book!!! Immediately!!! lol and a copy for my sister :-D thanks for reviewing it, Court! and coming by my blog too :-D

  • Court

    Susan – I hope you and your sister enjoy Jolted as much as I did – especially since you two have the personal experience of lightening!

  • Nicola

    I loved this so much too! I’ve only read “Dust” by the author but would love to read “Megiddo’s Shadow” one of these days. Dust is fabulous, too, btw.

    I even asked Arthur Slade if he would write a sequel to this book but, alas, he only answered me with a joke “perhaps from the pigs point of view”.

  • Court

    Nicola – I’ll definitely be reading Dust. Will be attempting to make my way through all the books he’s written. :) You’ll LOVE Megiddo’s Shadow.

  • Roman

    LOVED THIS BOOK! It was great. :)