All Shook Upby Shelley Pearsall
The King of Rock ’n’ Roll lives! And he’s Josh’s dad.
When 13-year-old Josh finds out that he has to stay with his dad in Chicago for a few months, he’s not too thrilled. But when he arrives at the airport, he’s simply devastated. His father—who used to be a scatterbrained but pretty normal shoe salesman—has/i>
The King of Rock ’n’ Roll lives! And he’s Josh’s dad.
When 13-year-old Josh finds out that he has to stay with his dad in Chicago for a few months, he’s not too thrilled. But when he arrives at the airport, he’s simply devastated. His father—who used to be a scatterbrained but pretty normal shoe salesman—has become . . . Elvis. Well, a sideburnwearing, hip-twisting, utterly-embarrassing Elvis impersonator.
Josh is determined to keep his dad’s identity a secret, but on his very first day at his new school, a note appears on his locker. It’s signed Elvisly Yours, and instead of a name, a sneering purple smiley face. The secret is out, and when his dad is invited to perform at a special 50s concert at his school, Josh is forced to take drastic action. From award-winning author Shelley Pearsall comes a hilarious novel about discovering the important (and sometimes painful) difference between who you want to be—and who you really are.
“Alternately wry, silly, thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny.”—BookPage
Gr 6-8- Josh Greenwood, 13, lives with his mom in Boston, but he is shipped off to his dad in Chicago when she has to go to Florida to care for her mother. Once there, he discovers that his shoe-salesman father has lost his job and is now an Elvis impersonator. Dad's new girlfriend owns a vintage clothing shop and her daughter, Ivory, wears outfits that are wacky mismatched blasts from the past, and she has a boyfriend who wears a dog collar. "Hard" does not even begin to cover Josh's feelings about his new life. Of course, in true middle schooler fashion, he is unable to see anything except how this situation affects him. His potential for humiliation and embarrassment are central to his character and lead to an explosive division between him and his father. Through a wonderful and believable process of discovery orchestrated partially by Ivory and her mom, father and son come to understand one another. Pearsall has given Josh an authentic voice, and his first-person narrative is engaging throughout.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA
Read an Excerpt
Looking back, I would say everything in my life changed the summer I turned thirteen and my dad turned into Elvis.
I’d heard people say thirteen was an unlucky number, and from the very beginning, that seemed to be true. I’d been thirteen for less than twenty-four hours when the phone call came from Florida about my grandma taking a fall on the steps of the Shadyside Episcopal Church and breaking her hip. That same day, somebody swiped my bike from the rack at the city pool because–yes–I’d stupidly left it unlocked. And then my mom decided to ship me off to Chicago for four months so she could rush to Florida to take care of my grandma.
Before arriving in Illinois in August, I didn’t know anything about my dad being Elvis. Well, that’s not quite true. I knew there were people who pretended to be Elvis. You know–sideburns, sunglasses, twisting hips, jiggly legs, and all. But I never thought my own dad would become one of them.
Neither did my mother, or she probably wouldn’t have put me on that plane. I’d have gone to Shadyside Villas instead, where I could have stayed with her and a lot of nice old people while we waited for Grandma’s hip to recover.
But my dad, in his usual style, didn’t mention a word about Elvis when my mom called him. “Great. No problem. Sure. Josh can stay with me,” he must have told her on the phone–while I stood on the other side of the kitchen doorway crossing my fingers behind my back, whispering, “No, say no” under my breath. As they were talking, I could hear my mom clattering a spoon around and around a mixing bowl, loudly making something for dinner. She never spoke to my father without sounding extremely busy.
“So you don’t mind keeping Josh?” I heard her say.
“Until Shirley’s better? The doctors told me it could be a few months. He’ll have to be enrolled in school. Are you sure this isn’t going to be a problem?”
Keep Josh. That phrase again. Like I was somebody’s pet guinea pig or prize Chihuahua getting passed back and forth. Keep Josh. Take Josh. Pick up Josh.
Note to my parents: Why not ask Josh what he would like to do?
But after eight years of being shipped between two houses almost a thousand miles apart, I knew it was pretty much useless to say anything. I was the SHARED KID and both of my parents liked me better if I seemed okay with their arrangement. So that’s why I ended up telling my mom I was fine with living in Chicago for a while and staying with my dad and even going to a different school. Although I wasn’t really fine with any of those things. Especially not the new school.
Meet the Author
A former teacher and museum historian, Shelley Pearsall is now a full-time writer. Her first novel, Trouble Don’t Last, won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction. To learn more about the author and her work, visit www.shelleypearsall.com. She lives in Silver Lake, Ohio.
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