Review: ‘Completely Cassidy – Accidental Genius’ by Tamsyn Murray

Moontrug’s been spending a lot of time reading fantasy and adventure books recently so she thought she’d shake things up a bit with something different… Meet Cassidy. With her embarrassing dad, pregnant mum, loser brother and knicker-chewing dog, she’s almost invisible in her family. So she’s hoping Year 7 is her time to shine, especially since a test proved she’s Gifted & Talented. The only problem is she picked her answers at random. But surely the school wouldn’t make a mistake about her genius?

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Cassidy narrates the book and Murray perfectly captures the voice of a Year 7 girl. Lines like: ‘I wish I was an orphan – not Oliver Twist, obviously. A rich one and preferably royal’ had Moontrug giggling early on and Cassidy’s fears of being ‘vaporized by the scornful look of a passing Year Eleven’ brilliantly encapsulate the anxiety Moontrug felt as she embarked upon Senior School once upon a time. Cassidy’s friendship with Shenice and Molly is lovingly evoked (Moontrug adored that Wham bars were a universal sign of peace offering between them!) and Cassidy’s relationship with her brother, Liam (lead guitarist of Wolf Brethern, not Dog Breath as Cassidy would have it) is hilarious.

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The letters Cassidy earnestly bashes out to Prime Ministers and Pet Vets made Moontrug chuckle and Cassidy’s attempt at hair dying reminded Moontrug of the time she dyed her hair three weeks into Senior School and it went so wrong she was nicknamed Pink Dawsons Creek Girl for a month… And lines like this from Murray: ‘I bet Einstein’s mother never threatened to shave his head’ make the episode particularly memorable! The book is littered with wonderful facts as Cassidy unearths information for the quiz. Did you know emus cannot walk backwards, butterflies taste with their feet and tarantulas can live for thirty years?! Spot on for Moontrug who collects facts on a regular basis. And Cassidy’s verdict on Jane Eyre is hilarious: ‘What it needs is a few ZOMBIES – they would have spiced things up no end.’ There are rumours of Deputy Heads twerking at St Jude’s Has Got Talent competition, fall outs between friends, new sibling arrivals and first crushes – the perfect ingredients for 8+ years readers wanting a witty, fresh and heart-warming story. And watch out for the fantastic sequel, Completely Cassidy – Star Reporter, out in July this year…