My Life as a Stuntboy

My Life as a Stuntboy

4.6 59
by Janet Tashjian, Jake Tashjian

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Derek Fallon gets the opportunity of a lifetime—to be a stunt boy in a major movie featuring a pretty teen starlet. After accepting the job he learns that he is the star's stunt double and must wear a wig! His friends are never going to let him live this down. If that weren’t his only problem, his parents are threatening to give away

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Derek Fallon gets the opportunity of a lifetime—to be a stunt boy in a major movie featuring a pretty teen starlet. After accepting the job he learns that he is the star's stunt double and must wear a wig! His friends are never going to let him live this down. If that weren’t his only problem, his parents are threatening to give away his pet monkey, and his best friend just posted an embarrassing video of him on Youtube. Can life get any worse? Still the irrepressible Derek takes it all in stride and even manages to save the day.

Editorial Reviews


Fans of the first will be utterly delighted by this sequel and anxious to see what Jake will turn up as next.

This is a great package for kids, especially those like Derek who don't think they like to read.
Children's Literature - Miranda McClain
Getting through middle school unscathed is a feat for any kid but when one adds holding down a job as a stunt double and taking care of a monkey, not to mention struggling with a learning disability, to the typical hazards of homework, bullies, and puppy love it may seem impossible. However, Derek has good friends, his best friend Matt, the actress Tanya Billings, and Carly, who surprises Derek by coming through when others don't, to help get him out of some pretty tough jams, such as rescuing his kidnapped monkey. And while at times Matt seems more like an enemy than a best friend, such as when he teams up with the class bully to broadcast Derek's reading troubles on the Internet due to his jealousy over Derek's sudden fame, he comes through in the end. The illustrated vocabulary words give the book a Diary of a Wimpy Kid feel and add humorous appeal and the stunts that would make any parent cringe will thrill young readers. Reviewer: Miranda McClain
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Twelve-year-old Derek Fallon, from My Life as a Book (Holt, 2010), returns to face another school year and the dreaded task of reading. However, there are some bright spots in his days, including Frank, his capuchin monkey; his best friend, Matt; and the sport of parkour, which uses climbing, jumping, and running to get around obstacles. The boys' friendship is tested when Derek's parkour skills attract the interest of a Hollywood stuntman. Derek is ecstatic when he gets hired to be a "stuntboy," but shocked when he discovers that he's the double for a popular teen actress-and a pretty one, too. After his monkey is stolen, he needs all his friends and parkour skills to help with the rescue. Likely intended for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams, 2007) crowd, this book won't disappoint Greg Heffley's fans, even if Tashjian's humor is milder than Kinney's sharp wit. The details about parkour and a behind-the-scenes peek at filmmaking add interesting information. Stick-figure illustrations cleverly show Derek's practice of drawing his vocabulary words, e.g., the sketch for "analyze" has a stick figure boy scratching his head while staring at a blackboard. They add depth when depicting words readers may find unfamiliar, such as "heinous" and "reverie." However, a great number of them ("gymnasium," "nerdy") need no explanation and are simply humorous. A fast-moving plot and relatable protagonist make this stand-alone sequel a good choice for boys who, like Derek, would rather reach for a TV remote or game controller than a book.—M. Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, NY
Kirkus Reviews

In this satisfying stand-alone companion toMy Life as a Book(2010), 12-year-old Derek Fallon thinks landing a job as stuntboy for megastar Tanya Billings must be as good as it gets.

After all, the infamously reluctant reader had finally found his niche! The plot, however, thickens: "This morning I was on a movie set doing stunts, talking to a movie star. By the end of the day, my best friend's making fun of me, I have a homework tutor, and my mother's going to cut open my adopted monkey to retrieve my horse. How do these things happen?" As Derek's well-meaning parents tirelessly engage in what sound like rehearsed "teacher moments," their son realistically vacillates between self-doubt and boyish bravado—all in a dry, funny first-person voice. Derek's Yoda-like parkour/stunt coach Tony also has many life lessons for the stuntboy, such as "Parkour is about making your way around obstacles." The family's foster capuchin monkey Frank provides a hairy subplot, as does Derek's nagging worry about losing his best friend Matt, suddenly jealous about Derek's newfound fame. The generous margins are filled with Derek's often quite clever stick-figure cartoons illustrating vocabulary words such as "flabbergasted" and "camouflage"—all rendered by the author's teenage son.

Another fun, emotionally resonant read for the Wimpy Kid set and beyond.(Fiction. 9-14)

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Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
My Life Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

My Life as a Stuntboy



THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL IS always the worst day of the year. It's like some crazy surgeon throws you on an operating table and removes a major organ from your chest called summer. He doesn't realize how much a kid needs that organ, as much as a liver or a spleen.
I feel almost bruised being back at school, and I haven't even made itto class yet. Maybe if I go to the nurse, she'll take pity on me and hook me up to an emergency life support system. But before I can make any last wishes, my friend Matt punches me in the arm and jolts me back from my daytime nightmare.
"This year definitely won't be as bad as the others." Matt realizes the price tag is hanging from the sleeve of his shirt so he yanks it off as we talk.
When we found out we would have Mr. Maroni this year, Matt and I were almost excited about school.
"It'll be great to finally have a guy teacher--I've never had one." I imagine a school filled with male teachers, couches, potato chips, and flat-screen TVs.
Matt shakes me from my reverieby making a buzzing noise like they use on game shows to get rid of a losing contestant. "They just announced that Mr. Maroni's father died two days ago, and Mr. Maroni is moving to Cincinnati to take care of his mother."
"WHAT?" The first day of school is bad enough without getting hit with a massive curveball while you're still at your locker.
"Want to know who we have instead?" Matt asks.
I can't even begin to guess who'll be the master of my universe this year.
"Ms. McCuddles."
It's not that I dislike Ms. McCoddle--she's nice, young, and has super-blond hair--but Matt and I had her way back in kindergarten,and even though we're totally grown up now, she still thinks of us as kids. It was fine when we were five and she told us to call her Ms. McCuddles and hugged us when we fell during recess, but now we're almost embarrassed when we see her in the hall.
I try to analyze our new situation. "Option one--Ms. McCoddle is easy on us since she's used to dealing with little kids, and we won't have to plug in our brains all year."
Matt offers a different opinion. "Option two--she tries to make up for being a kindergarten teacher by being super hard on us."
"The one year we're supposed to get a guy teacher--figures something would happen to mess it up."
Our worst fears are realized when Ms. McCoddle walks by. "Derek! Matt! Did you hear the good news?"
We look down at our sneakers and nod.
"I'm setting up the mats and juice boxes now. Want to help?"
Matt and I stare at her like she's just asked us to run over the principal with our skateboards.
Ms. McCoddle laughs so hard, she snorts. "I'm kidding! We're starting right in on the Civil War. Get ready for some fierce discussion."
We watch her walk down the hall with a feeling of dread.
"Option two is officially in effect," Matt says.
I barely hear him because I'm halfway down the hall, looking for the janitor, hoping he'll agree to knock me on the head with a mallet to put me out of my misery.
Henry Holt® is a registered trademark of Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Text copyright © 2011 by Janet Tashjian Illustrations copyright © 2011 by Jake Tashjian

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