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Drawing a Blank: Or How I Tried to Solve a Mystery, End a Feud, and Land the Girl of My Dreams
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Drawing a Blank: Or How I Tried to Solve a Mystery, End a Feud, and Land the Girl of My Dreams

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3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  166 ratings  ·  38 reviews
I don't know how this happened

One day I'm snug in my loner existence at Carnegie Mansion School, and the next I'm tramping through the Scottish wilderness looking for my dad. Who's been kidnapped. Because of a feud that started in medieval times. Or something. Suffice it to say, I never paid too much attention because I thought the whole thing was some twisted figment of m
...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by HarperTeen (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 286)
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Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com

How does one describe Carlton Dunne IV? Here's how I think he would describe himself:

*Comic book geek
*Trust fund kid
*Loner
*Incapable of being attentive or focused
*Afraid of people
*VERY afraid of female people
*Non-adventurous
*Offspring of a nutcase


Unfortunately, his dad might not be crazy. Carlton's grown up hearing about some ridiculous, centuries-old feud with some guy in Scotland. He's always just assumed it was his father's insanity, bu
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073777658
Drawing a Blank is a great book for many people especially teenagers. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun and casual read. This book also fits nicely on any shelf that is looking for a fun read. This story is a very touching and heartwarming, but it also has a twist of mystery. There is also a love story behind all the chaos.
Many things happen in the story that appeals to me in different ways. Carlton Dunne IV is the protagonist. He also is very comical in different ways. Fr
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Marsha
Weird, painful, sad and funny by turns, this book is yet another example of what happens to American males who really can’t grow up but are forced to, anyway. Carlton Dunne IV is yet another manboy buried a little too deeply in a fictional world composed of comic characters of his own making. When he becomes enmeshed in a plan to rescue his kidnapped father, he doesn’t exactly rise to the occasion.

The perceptive reader can spot the plot twist coming miles off but not poor Carlton. Yet his journe
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Ming
This was one of the most dull books I had ever "read".

I did not spend my time actually reading it after the first 5 chapters because it was seriously dull.

I kinda skimmed the book because the dialogue was not very entertaining, the plot was predictable, the art style of the drawings was sloppy and not really aesthetically pleasing, and overall, there wasn't a clear mood to the book. Most of the story fell flat.

I did, however, learn some things about Scottish culture, but otherwise, after "readin
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Daniel c
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brad Busching
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley
How can this book’s beginning not suck you in? “Just so you know, this book is about how my life went completely berserk. One day I’m snug in my comic-book drawing, loner existence, and the next I’m tramping through the wilderness looking for my dad. Who’s been kidnapped. Because of an ancient family feud I always thought was a twisted figment of his imagination…Now my only company is a wannabe cop who just might be my superhero dream girl. And if I don’t deliver some kind of mysterious “proof” ...more
Jacob De
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew
Mar 09, 2010 Matthew rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens, anyone looking for a light and humorous book
Drawing a Blank is written in such a way that it can appeal to a wide range of readers. The book has plenty of humour that has kept me more attracted to the novel than any other (I mean, one chapter starts with “B-U-U-U-R-P!”). It doesn’t just stop at that though; much of the parts where someone speaks in a heavy Scottish accent have the language warped into a form of “as it sounds” (for example, “Bring the pr-r-rue-ef to Edinbur-r-gh. Aweet instrookshin. You ‘ave fourty-eight hours. Oor ya dad ...more
Brandon
Drawing A Blank, or How I Tried to Solve a Mystery And Land The Girl Of My Dreams is a fantastic novel. Many factors in this book such as the humour, the likeable characters, the suspense and action and the realism are very appealing to teenagers looking for a fun and enjoyable read.
The main thing I look for in a book is a humourous and action-packed storyline with an easy-to-follow story. This book has it all, and a lot of it. Throughout the book there are many humourous footnotes at the end o
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Lela
(Elective reading)

Summary: Carlton Dunne IV is a young man from a very long line of Scottish heritage. He is also a lover and creator of comic strips. One day he is making comic strips from his private room at a boarding school, and the next he is slogging through Scotland with a young cop-wannabe female trying to find his kidnapped father. He finds out that some family tales are not just tales... and only he (with the help of his newfound muse for his comic strips) can figure out how to get his
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Emma (Miss Print)
Drawing a Blank or How I Tried to Solve a Mystery, End a Feud, and Land the Girl of My Dreams has a lot going for it. In addition to having a very straightforward, no holds barred, title Drawing a Blank also includes illustrations by Trevor Ristow.

More surprising (to me) was that I was already familiar with the book's author, Daniel Ehrenhaft. In 2002 Ehrenhaft, writing under the pseudonym Daniel Parker, published the Wessex Papers trilogy. The three books (Trust Falls, Fallout, Outsmart) won th
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Kim
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lana.
Jan 11, 2011 Lana. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Young Adult readers looking for a fun read
Carlton Dunne (the fourth) is not cocky. He is, however, hilariously awkward. Seventeen years old and banished to a boarding school, Carlton's goal is to coast through the rest of the school year without making too many waves (despite being bullied and an overly wandering attention span). The only place he feels comfortable are the pages of his sketchbook.

His life "goes bezerk" when his family's (until then, only considered an product of his father's imagination) clan feud results in the kidnap
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Cathy Caldwell
This was another book I took a chance on at the library book sale. Perhaps not fine literature, but it was very fun, I learned a lot, and I had a hard time putting it down because it drew me in so much. Great teen book.
TheSaint
Oct 16, 2008 TheSaint rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: ya
Carlton Dunne IV is a closet cartoonist, er, graphic novelist. And as such is a geek-bashing magnet. His father is no particular help, being an eccentric architect fixated on: 1) Bentham's Panopticon and 2) a centuries-long blood-feud between the Dunnes and the Forbas. So, when Carlton III is actually kidnapped and spirited off to Scotland, Carlton IV has no choice but to effect a rescue. Along the way, Carlton IV gets some "help" from a lovely Scottish lass, named Aileen, or is it Annabel? Dani ...more
Jodie
This book is about a boy who draws comics. His dad gets kidnapped, so he has to find an object connected to his family to get his dad back. He escapes from his boarding school and on a journey with a girl who wants to be a cop. I don't recommend this book, it's not that good.
Misti
This book was an interesting foray into trying something new. I don't even remember which section of the store I found it in. Maybe the children's section. It was definitely written with a younger audience in mind. While the plot could have been more interesting, and was certainly predictable, the writing style was well-executed and full of fun and flair. Unfortunately, I didn't much care for the main character who ended up coming off as misogynistic rather than shy, and the main female characte ...more
Angie
it looked interesting on the cover (and, of course, the title), so i wondered why it hadn't checked out of the library in over a year. after reading it, i can kinda see why. its an interesting concept, interspersing a fantasy world comic strip with a real world life, but it just didn't fly. and i really dont think the comic strip artist is all that good--at all. remember, that's my personal opinion, but the pics look so half-assed and rather juvenile. i think that's actually a style of CS drawin ...more
Arielle R
Pretty good....
Stevecrandell
This is not quite a graphic novel, and far from a serious mystery. But as long as you can accept the silliness, this is a very well-crafted story. The dozen-or-so graphic sections are some of the best parts of the book: quick, exaggerated, and drowning in ridiculous melodrama. Because the adventure is so outlandish, I didn't really mind the fact that the final stages get especially hard to believe. It makes sense that this is Ehrenhaft's twisted vision of fate.
Brandy
Aug 15, 2008 Brandy marked it as abandoned
Shelves: for-work
One I was skimming for potential inclusion on my mysteries booklist. I got halfway through and decided not to bother with the second half. The writing is juvenile, the comic is terrible, and the main character reminds me of the kid who followed you around school because he thought you were friends but really you just wanted to punch him.

This may find an audience, but it hasn't at my library, and now I know why.
Mike
I am not rating this because I can't quite figure out how to remove it from my book list.
I'm the wrong age group for this book and it just seemed immature. I've read better books in the "Young Adult" and even "Kids" categories, this seemed to be talking down a bit to the reader. I just didn't care for it basically.
Terrell
i liked the book and i thought that it was very entertaining and kept me wanting to read more. it became a drag at some points but evrything made sense and the story wasnt rushed at all and not that im like carlton [the main character] but i can relate to him and the high school life.
Tori
Jul 25, 2011 Tori added it
2009- After just reading a great book about a boy who loves to draw (...True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) this one was just okay. I felt it could have been much shorter, and some of the plot twists were really obvious. However, I still think middle and high school boys might like it.
Rhiannon
It's about a guy who runs away from boarding school, to go to Scotland. His dad is obsessed with this non-existent feud. Then he learns it's real. His dad gets kidnapped (to Scotland). He goes and rescues his dad
Stephanie G.
This guy's a lot of fun. I was put on to this book by my 13-year-old niece. I hadn't read any of Ehrenhaft's books before. A kind of zany combo of narrative and comic with some Scottish history thrown in.
Mitch
One of those books that's aimed for a younger audience, but works better for more experienced readers.
Witty, sharp, and beyond entertaining this book is great for anyone who enjoys (mis)adventure
Raina
Totally goofy, boy book. Yeah, there's some sexism here, but this was one of my first forays into YA humor after getting into youth librarianship, and I remember this as a fun ride.
Elle
I liked this book, but I only gave it three stars because I thought that the scottish stuff was a little hard to understand, and I didn't like the ending.
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Daniel Ehrenhaft is the author of several dozen books for children and young adults—so many books, in fact, that he has lost count. He has often written under the pseudonym Daniel Parker (his middle name, which is easier to spell and pronounce than his last), and occasionally Erin Haft. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife Jessica, as well as a scruffy dog named Gibby and a psychotic cat named Boots ...more
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