“Nooooo!” I shout, outraged. “Amy, no shouting out, please,” says Mrs Hague.
“But, Miss, you can’t give them the right to veto,” I plead.“They might as well be in charge!” “We’re not in charge. Mrs Hague is clearly in charge,” says Harry smugly. “Yes, I’m very much clearly in charge, thank you,” echoes Mrs Hague. Oh, he is astute, that Harry, I’ll give him that. The shrewd evil genius.
Year 9 pupil Amy is desperate to show her talents at the upcoming school Comedy Show. Unfortunately, Harry has been put in charge and he is determined to undermine, ridicule and humiliate her at every turn. When Amy’s sister mentions sexism, she realised she can’t let this happen any longer and decides to fight for the right to make people laugh…
The latest from stand-up comedian and author of My Best Friend and Other Enemies (and many other great books), Catherine Wilkins, is a captivating, laugh-out-loud hit. To be fair, a story which mentions Schitt’s Creek and calls someone a wazzock will definitely climb high in my estimation but what You’re Not The Boss Of Me does so well is having such a relatable main character and how she deals with the blatant sexism she encounters. Amy works herself into the ground both at school and at work always trying to do the right thing but each time, her efforts seem to backfire. The frustration she feels is palpable on the page but I loved her resilience and tenacity to not give her and challenge those who don’t believe in her.
So, does she succeed? You’ll find no major spoilers here but I felt this to be a very honest and realistic exploration of sexism. The way others, including adults, can look the other way. People being too afraid to stand up for others. Amy (and her mum through another interesting sub-plot) really empowers the reader not to let this happen – stand up for yourself and your dreams. Despite the subject matter, it’s a really witty story too, and I can think of lots of Years 5 and 6 pupils who will enjoy the fart parody song in particular. With lots of relevant pop culture references and nods to inspirational trailblazers, You’re Not The Boss Of Me is hilarious, heartwarming, thought-provoking and will leave the reader wanting to be better and also help raise others around them.
Suggested reading age: 9+
You’re Not The Boss Of Me is written by Catherine Wilkins. It’s published by Nosy Crow and is available now.