Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Review: Tigers on the Beach by Doug MacLeod

Tigers on the Beach
Released: 1 March 2014
Genre: Humor
Publisher: Penguin Australia
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At the Other End:
Have you heard the one about the guy who lost a grandfather, but found a girlfriend? It's funny. It's also kind of sad. And some of the bits that are sad are also kind of funny (but only if you laugh at that sort of thing).

Adam thinks Samantha could be the one for him. But first he has to sort out his parents' crumbling marriage, stop getting into embarrassing situations involving public nudity, find out what's making his gran so angry, stop his little brother doing something really, really dangerous and work out what's so funny about two tigers on a beach. It can't be that hard, can it?

Author Bio:
Doug MacLeod is a Melbourne writer of books and TV. In 2008 the Australian Writers' Guild awarded him the Fred Parsons award for contribution to Australian comedy. (He has worked as a writer on shows such as Fast Forward and SeaChange, and as script editor on three seasons of Kath and Kim.)
He also devised and co-wrote the animated series Dogstar, which has been screened all over the world. Doug received two Australian Writers' Guild awards for his scripts for series one, as well as the inaugural John Hinde award for science fiction. His best known book is Sister Madge's Book of Nuns, which started as a practical joke on a publisher. He left his full-time TV job in 2002 to focus on writing books for young adults. So far he has had seven novels published by Penguin. The most recent are The Life of a Teenage Body-Snatcher, a CBCA Honour Book in 2012 shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and the Aurealis Awards, and The Shiny Guys, shortlisted for the 2013 CBCA Book of the Year AwardsOne of his novels, The Clockwork Forest, was presented as a play by The Sydney Theatre Company in 2008, and in 2013 he wrote Margaret Fulton: Queen of the Dessert, a musical about the life of Margaret Fulton
Find Doug:
Sum Up:
A heartwarming tale of love, loss, and the strength of family tossed in with a bit of comedy

Behind the 251 Pages
I had high expectations from this book. 1, I thought that the main character, Adam, was going to be in his late teens or even mid teens. 2, I thought that there would be some pretty hilarious laughs and 3, a side of struggling romance, trying to make it work. That wasn't really the case in this book. Sure, it had features of it, but it wasn't what I expected and I expected more. I thought that this book had great potential, but it just wasn't executed right.

The first reason was that the main character was only 13, and he was SO immature, just like any 13 year old boy would be. The things that happen in this book should not, in my opinion, be one that includes a 13 year old. Adam and all the other characters are put into situations that a 16, 17 or 18 year old should be in, and it makes it all so.... weird, to see all these characters trying to be older than they actually are, and in situations not suited to their age. It was so awkward, I don't know what else to say about it.

The second, was that there would be some pretty hilarious laughs going on. This was a bit in and out, there were jokes in this book, and some were funny (I laughed at the last joke at the very end). There were even some funny paragraphs in this book too, but nothing that made me laugh out loud. We get told the joke that comes into play with the title and cover, but at the end when it brings Adam and Sam together, I still didn't get the joke, and it wasn't even explained to us when Adam figured out the joke. I liked how jokes brought together their family, especially Adam and his Grandfather, then later on in the book it brought his family together with his Grandmother and stopped all the arguing. 

Thirdly, the struggling romance between Adam and Sam, that they try to make work. OMG> insta-love. This book had it in there twice, first it was just funny, then it got annoying. Then there was the main romance with Adam and Sam, and that is all insta-love. They fight after what? two days and break up and Adam becomes heartbroken? They fight over stupid childish things that make this romance one you shouldn't even want to cheer for. There are some cute bits in the book, where Adam watches Sam play the flute and at the end as well, but it's just frustrating because, to me, it feels like MacLeod tries to write them as characters who are 16 - 19 year olds. It made me just think throughout the whole book, WTF YOU ARE 13!! And the things that his peers do and get away with as well.... These kids are still kids! They are 13! They shouldn't be able to go up to a counter and be able to buy beer! Or really even know what to do when it comes to sex, or even want to do it!

What really would have made this book better for me, was if the characters were aged correctly to the actual plot line of the book, and the situation that they are put in. This completely ruined the book for me, but there are some redeeming points:

This book started focusing on family issues, as well as bringing a fighting family together, even at the saddest of times. After Adam's Grandfather passes, the family's world crashes, especially their Grandmother as she goes through her own struggles to come to terms with the death, and Adam's parents, as they start fighting because of the things that the Grandmother does, and the stress of owning a holiday camp and needing to make the residents happy without kicking the Grandmother out of her temporary residence to be closer to the family. This also includes Adam's younger brother, Xander, (who is a little rug-rat most of the time) who has Aspergers syndrome. This family go through a lot, as well as how Adam comes to terms with his Grandfather's passing. This is all shown towards the middle-end of the book. 

I love the family's ending. How they said farewell to their Grandfather, as well as how the book ends. It ends in a really beautiful way, and I wish that the whole book was done as good as this ending, and the final chapters with the family.

Now for a special surprise...
Thanks to Penguin Australia for sending me this copy for giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This novel was received for review via Penguin Group Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.


  1. Awesome review Gina, I haven't heard of this one before. It's sounds quite quirky, but almost as though it was stuck between middle grade and young adult. A boy of thirteen is still just a boy and you're spot on, the situations within the storyline sound far too complicated for someone so young to navigate. Thanks for the incredible giveaway.

    1. Thanks lovely! It is very quirky, and it's set in Melbourne!! Good luck!

  2. I LOOOOOOOOVE Doug MacLeod's work! He's one of my absolute favourtie authors and double points because he's Australian. Thanks for the giveaway :)

    1. Good Luck! I'm happy to give you the chance to win one of his books! I hope you enjoy it :)

  3. Wonderful review lovely! I've been looking forward to this book, but didn't realise Adam was only 13! Is this a MG book then? The cover seems to say otherwise! Noooo, not insta-love. It makes me cringe just thinking about it, and they're 13!!!!

    1. Thank you lovely! Yeah, I didn't think he was either. I'm not entirely sure, it's kind of a mix between them both... Yeah, insta-love, I hate them too...

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Thank you for letting my know your opinion, as this review is my personal opinion of your novel, and your novel alone. Please see my disclaimer pasted below, this is put on the bottom of every review. No matter what author or publisher it is from, I do not sway my review because of that:

      This novel was received for review via Penguin Group Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.

      Unfortunately, I did not like some parts, because of my own personal taste, but if you take look again at my review, you will see that I did still enjoy other parts of your novel.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Doug you just don't know when to quit do you? If you didn't come across as a total douche bag with your first reply to Gina's honest criticism, then you most certainly sealed the deal with this one. You've given readers absolutely zero incentive to go and read your book. I'm assuming you are a grown man Doug, but you really need to stop acting like a child. Just because you write teen YA doesn't mean you should act like it too in the real world. Grow up buddy!

    4. 'I have two things that you haven't got. I did actually spend some time as a fourteen year old boy...'

      I think you underestimate yourself, you're still that fourteen year old boy. Based on the review, I still would have picked your book up, now? Nope. I'd be surprised if anyone picked it up now.

    5. Sorry for my pathetic performance.

  5. Insta-love. Nope. Not touching if it's insta-love - the one thing I hate in all books.
    I can't remember what I got up to when I was 13 so I can't comment on these things, but I do remember the bulk of my days consisting of gaming, eating and sleeping O_O certainly not beer or sex or relationships. I don't think I was even interested in boys until I was like 16.

    Thanks for the honest review.

    1. Yeah, it was ok, but because it was insta-love it just didn't connect with me. That was exactly the same as me, which is probably why I feel that way about what they characters do. Maybe it's different nowadays? Anytime lovely :)



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