I attended a booktalking workshop a few months ago that was hosted by Michael Cart. He did a few outstanding talks, including one on The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing (he cried), and another on The Dead Father's Club (he didn't cry). Not one to truly enjoy being moved to tears by a novel, I chose to go ahead and read the latter novel when it finally came to my library in April.
It was so worth the wait. Mr. Cart described it as in the same genre and narrative style as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and he was absolutely right. Although I'm a bit uncertain about the ending, I found this book to be utterly engaging and completely readable. It's certainly an adult book, but told from the perspective of an 11-year-old boy.
Alright, this needs to become more of a review...here goes:
Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has major problems. Not only has his father just passed on, but his Uncle Alan is making a move on his newly widowed mother, and his father's ghost is pestering to kill Uncle Alan. No, not just because Alan's moving a bit fast, but because Philip's father believes that Uncle Alan clipped the break wires on his car, causing the accident that lead to his death. Philip has until his father's birthday, a few short weeks away, to get his father's revenge by killing Alan, or else his father will spend an eternity experiencing what he describes as "the terrors." Told in a narrative style reminiscient of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (although Philip is simply young, not a boy with Asberger's Syndrome), set in England, and something of a modern re-telling of Hamlet, Matt Haig's novel exceeds expectations and creates a marvelously engaging story that should capture the attention of older teens (yes, despite the 11-year-old narrator, older teens may well enjoy it), as well as their parents.
This could also make for an interesting companion piece to teachers using Hamlet or The Curious Incident in their classrooms.