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All Shook Up

All Shook Up

4.5 23
by Shelley Pearsall

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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


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

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Angela Carstensen
The summer he turns thirteen, Josh Greenwood is on his way to Chicago to stay with his father. He usually lives with his mother in Boston, but she has to go to Florida to care for his Grandmother who is recovering from a hospital stay. Josh would much rather be in Florida, especially when his father picks him up (late) at the airport with new, big black hair and sideburns. Josh is mortified. It turns out that his father lost his job and has decided to pursue work as an Elvis impersonator. With myriad priceless asides, Josh takes readers through his father's endless rehearsing and attempts to recruit his help with performances (rebuffed), opinions of his father's new girlfriend and daughter who just happens to go to Josh's school-so much for keeping his father's new "hobby" a secret-and his desperation to hold on to a semblance of the popularity he enjoyed in Boston. When his father is hired to perform for a school event, Josh goes too far trying to prevent it. Only then does he realize how much he was starting to enjoy his new life. This affecting story of a typical, clever middle-school boy dealing with divorce and the new families that sometimes replace the old is also a very funny tale told by a terrifically engaging young narrator. Although some issues are serious, it is one of those rare, humor-filled books that will appeal to middle school readers regardless of gender. Reviewer: Angela Carstensen
Children's Literature - Julie Lodermeier
When Josh's normal dad changes careers to become an Elvis impersonator, you can't help but laugh out loud. Readers will squirm with agony due to Josh's dad's new sideburns and his "gigs" around town while Josh is just trying to blend in at a new school. Josh is forced to take action when his dad is asked to perform, rhinestone jumpsuit and all, at his new school's ‘50s concert. It is a funny, sometimes painful read as Josh tries to cope and is rewarding in the end. This is a hilarious yet affecting story of a clever, middle-school boy dealing with divorce. Other interesting characters in this book are the bizarre but possible love interest Ivory, the dog-collar-wearing Digger and even an old lady neighbor, Gladys. All of them want to befriend Josh as he desperately tries not to draw attention to himself. The incredibly engaging young narrator, Josh, will appeal to middle school readers regardless of gender. Reviewer: Julie Lodermeier
School Library Journal

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

Kirkus Reviews
Since his parents split when he was five, 13-year-old Josh Greenwood is accustomed to dividing his time between Boston with his orderly mother and Chicago vacations with his forgetful, shoe-salesman father. When Josh's grandmother in Florida takes a fall, however, Josh's mother sends him to Chicago where he'll have to start his seventh-grade year at a new school. Josh arrives to find the shoe store where his dad worked has closed, and his dad looking...Elvis-y. Josh can handle his dad's possible girlfriend Viv and her over-friendly and rather strange daughter Ivory, but he can't take everyone knowing about his dad's new "job." School starts, and to Josh's horror Viv signs his dad up to impersonate Elvis at his school's '50s theme day. Pearsall's fourth is funny, realistic and slightly sarcastic, and the eventual changes in Josh's relationship with his dad are both believable and well-handled. Boys especially will identify with Josh's struggle to escape the stigma of an embarrassing parent. (Fiction. 9-13)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.58(h) x 0.64(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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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All Shook Up 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the whole story it tells me so ,uch more about elvis. My favorite character would have to be Gladyes
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very different from other books. It didn't have much suspense but it was pleasing in other aspects. I liked how the characters were all so odd. Great book!
Anonymous 3 months ago
Aamazing 4 school project or if u just want 2 read it it is about kid who has dad that is lvis impersanator and he is embarressed by it really funnyish but not that funny idk y im still tiping this well bi sory for continuin longer than shouldve sory
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome if you evr get the chance to read it. READ IT! IT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really good! It is defenetly a great book! If you are deciding to get it or not, you should! I wish all books were as good as this one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the hardcovr bound book and i love it. It really relates to me. Mostly because my dad went to the grammy awards. My grandma is an original elvis fan (like the dedication). I let her read it.. she loved it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We r reading this book for a school thing and i think it is pretty funny and faces real life problems... just boring when your not reading it yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When i read this book, it started off kind of boring. The only reason i kept reasing it was because it was for Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. When i finished it i said wow. That was one of the best books ive ever read. I recomend it for people of all ages. It is a great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a realy good book
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Margaret Wilkinson More than 1 year ago
Great book
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Kelly Becker More than 1 year ago
you can always bet this book is good 'cause its rockin'!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TEST NOOKUSER More than 1 year ago
i think all shook up is a adorable book.I can read it ovdr and over again!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is very good it has a mix of comedy but teaches a lesson! It is from a guys point of view but a girl can get into it very easily too! I read it in a day! it was so good and fi you are an Elvis fan you learn some facts about him. I loved it!