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Sunny Side Up

Sunny Side Up

by Marion Roberts

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Start with one quiet, perfect life.

Add: Mum’s new boyfriend, his two kids, one best friend (with a big crush), one sworn enemy, and a long-lost grandmother.

Flavor with a dash of laughter, a pinch of jealousy, and plenty of secrets.
Cook on high all summer long. . . .

Eleven-year-old Sunny (short for Sunday) is an only child, an introvert, a dog


Start with one quiet, perfect life.

Add: Mum’s new boyfriend, his two kids, one best friend (with a big crush), one sworn enemy, and a long-lost grandmother.

Flavor with a dash of laughter, a pinch of jealousy, and plenty of secrets.
Cook on high all summer long. . . .

Eleven-year-old Sunny (short for Sunday) is an only child, an introvert, a dog lover, and part owner of Pizza-a-Go-Girl. She and her mum live near the beach in Australia. Good thing, because this summer is one long heat wave. But the temperature isn’t the only thing that’s making Sunny hot: her perfect life is about to change in a million ways!

Marion Roberts has worked as a chef and taught people how to cook, but started writing because she wanted a job she could do in her pajamas. Sunny Side Up is her first novel. She lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Australian author Roberts debuts with a solid tale about the complexity of family and friendships. Sunny, a preteen, describes the summer "when everything started to change, and... change is not my strong point." She is forced to become a member of "one of those modern blended families " when her mother invites her boyfriend and his two children ("precooked siblings") to move in; her best friend pulls back from her and starts making overtures to the much-loathed Buster Conroy; and Sunny's maternal grandmother, Carmelene, long estranged from Sunny's mother, sends her a Christmas present for the first time, with an invitation to visit. Sunny does her best to visualize everything from "seat 44K" of her imaginary airplane: "everything becomes minute and insignificant... and your life starts to change shape and feel like a toy life in a board game, and all your worries go away." Keeping the tone light, Roberts raises potent questions about honesty and forgiveness; a neatness to the ending doesn't flatten the exuberance of Sunny's voice. Ages 9-14. (Feb.)

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Children's Literature - Carolyn Mott Ford
The tone is breezy, but Sunny cannot quite breeze through all the situations and problems in her life. Her parents are divorced and her father and his wife are having a baby so Sunny will soon have a little sister. Her mother and Carl decide to move in together and that means that Carl's two kids will be joining the household. Sunny does not like the idea of being part of a blended family. She likes being an only child and wishes that did not have to change. Sunny's mum does not speak to her mother, Granny Carmelene, but Granny has convinced Sunny to visit without telling her mother. Granny has a terminal illness and shares this news with Sunny. Sunny's best friend Claud goes away for Christmas, leaving Sunny no one to confide in. Then, when Claud returns she seems to be different and Sunny does not know what to make of all this. In addition to the major upheaval in Sunny's life, she is involved in a pizza delivery business and also considers herself an inventor, a poet, and an entrepreneur. Whew! She has a full plate. Sunny's humorous and quirky voice helps to draw the reader in as she makes her way through the maze her life has become. Reviewer: Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7

Sunny Hathaway, 11, lives with her mother, a naturopath who smokes, and Willow, a greyhound, in an Australian town near the beach. She is on good terms with her father and stepmother, and excited about the pending birth of a half sister. Her voice is precocious and funny. Sunny frequently veers off on tangents, and she says that she needs help from the "Tangent Police" to get back on track. Although she is happy, her life is getting more confusing. Her friend Claud is suddenly interested in Buster Conroy; what will happen to the girls' Friday-night delivery business, Pizza-A-Go-Girl? Sunny likes being an only child, and now her mum's boyfriend and his two slightly annoying kids are moving in, along with their cat. And most importantly, why hasn't her mother ever let her see Granny Carmelene? Sunny's breezy tone, and the knowledge she gains, gives readers insight into her personality. Character development is strong, as the girl is quick to observe and comment on the people in her life, and the setting forms an interesting backdrop. Small black-and-white photos are liberally scattered throughout. While the novel will appeal to those who like introspective first-person narration, the frequent tangents can be distracting. Not a lot really happens, but that is not the point. It is Sunny's personal journey that matters.-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD

Kirkus Reviews
An upside-down antic adventure set in Melbourne, Australia, presents 11-year-old only child Sunny Hathaway, a reluctant, good-natured keeper of family secrets. Summer means Christmas in Australia, spent with her divorced mother, her mother's boyfriend and, appallingly, his two quarrelsome sons. All the while she has to keep her Friday-night business Pizza-A-Go-Girl running with best friend Claud(ia) and wonder if she should answer Granny Carmelene Aberdeen's invitation for a visit. Sunny's mum, who is well-meaning but can't stop sneaking cigarettes, has forbidden her daughter to see Granny Carmelene, on account of a long-simmering falling-out; dutiful, confused Sunny does go, however, and learns the dear old antiquarian is dying of cancer. Meanwhile, Claud has gone boy-crazy for seriously messed-up Buster Conroy, Sunny's father is having a baby with new wife, Steph, and Sunny's greyhound, Willow, is not taking to this "modern blended family" any better than Sunny is. Decorated throughout with antipodean vernacular, Roberts's glib, tangential, first-person narrative promises-and delivers-moments of charming girlhood transition and pathos. (Fiction. 9-14)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
970L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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