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Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight
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Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  1,280 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight is two weeks in the life of Joel Hedges and Cat Davis. Joel would prefer to get through his final year of high school without Cat Davis or his mother's faux Spanish boyfriend and just hang-out with his best-friend Luke. Cat Davis has an annoying best-friend, and even more annoying little brother, and a deep abiding hatred of Joel Hedges. ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published July 30th 2007 by Penguin
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Wawa Hey, I haven't been able to find this book either. Most of the stores I've checked are limited to selling the book to Australia and sometimes New Zeal…moreHey, I haven't been able to find this book either. Most of the stores I've checked are limited to selling the book to Australia and sometimes New Zealand. It sounded interesting but I'm having a hard time finding it which is disappointing. (less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  1,280 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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I spent one lazily delicious afternoon grinning my way through this.

And then.

About half way through, everything kicked up a notch and I couldn't put it down. The build up to the climax was perfectly done, raising the stakes and the level of hilarity.

It was a completely fun book that felt like high school and had me grinning stupidly and occasionally snorting. One of the scenes (where Joel "takes one for the team") had me laughing so much my tummy started to hurt - how do they think up that stuf
Remember the Britney and Justin Dance Off of 2002? (And Matt Damon's reenactment on SNL?) This book is the literary equivalent of that. Yes, it's as awesome as it sounds.

Joel and Cat, classmates and enemies, are paired together for a tandem writing project. They have to write a story one alternating paragraph at a time. But the first rule of tandem story writing is that you do not talk about tandem story writing. They can't discuss the plot or characters. Any problems? Take it to the page! (Side
Fun, quirky, fast, flirty. I loved this book.

Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight is written in alternating points of view, with one chapter being narrated by Joel (Nick Earls) and the next by Cat (Rebecca Sparrow) - and so on. The story takes place over a couple of weeks as the two are partnered in a tandem-story assignment.

Each chapter was witty and unique, and although each alternated between a different character and was written by a different author, flowed flawlessly. I found myself grinnin
Joel hates Cat.
Cat hates Joel.

And frankly, they are quite happy with things being that way. That is, until Cat's surprise hayfever attack and Joel's pen-ink disaster end up paving the way for a paired Extension English Assignment. Together. And to make it that much worse, the task is a tandem story, which means each one of them must submit a paragraph of the story at a time. No discussions. Just working with what the other's imagination has conceived.

But that's ok, right? It's only two weeks...

Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, ya
Hahahahaha. That's all I can say about this book right now. I needed a light read, and this one had been sitting on my kindle. If I'd known how unbelievably AWESOME it was, there's no way I would have let it sit there for so long.

This book was such fun. I've been laughing out loud every time I read a bit; and I'm not usually much of one for that. Crying to books, yes. Laughing, not so much. But this book has that snappy, witty, sarcastic dialogue I love so much. Did I mention this book is just s

I didn't open up Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight without first being "armed to the teeth" with expectations.

I loved this book by just glancing at the cover. It looks like an art project, with the boy and girl cut-outs and even better is when you check out the inside covers which have words from the book all jumbled-up and cool looking. (view spoiler)

Now, here's a confession: I have never read either Nick Earls or Rebecca Sparrow before. I expec
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, aussie-ya
was rolling about laughing at one point. literal, actual rolling happened. could not breathe from laughing so much.
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished listening to the audio-book version of Joel and Cat Set the Story Straight and loved it!

The book will most definitely keep you laughing and if you’re like me and live outside of Australia you’ll only be able to get an audio-copy, but fear not, the accents are awesome. Or at least they are to an Australia obsessed girl.

Cat Davis and Joel Hedges are just two teenagers with a mutual resentment for each other so obviously neither of the pair are too happy about being paired toge
Joel and Cat, high-school students, haven’t talked in fifteen months. Not since Cat had a major hand in Joel and Emma’s (Cat’s best friend) break-up. Joel and Cat basically can’t stand the sight of each other, but they are now forced to work together. They have been partnered up for a “tandem story” where each partner writes a paragraph and then the other continues the story with their own paragraph. Let the insults and comedy begin!

This story mirrors the actual writing of this book which was a
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Read this as an audio book, snd it was amazing, perfect for audio.

1. Describe the book in 3 words.
21st century Relationships

2. What was most memorable for you?
The extension story exercise, written independently by Two people with such diverse styles, is a fantastic tool that binds the threads together and builds toward the climax. It doesn’t start as “the main thing”, but without it, or with some other tension, I doubt the same feelings About the book would result.

3. How did the book compare
3.5 stars

This was so wonderfully Australian! With that light hearted humour that all Aussie authors always seem to nail in the head;

“We live with such a stoic bunch of oldies that their contribution to the evacuation plan was mostly, ‘Don’t you worry about me, love – you save yourself.”

The troop of absolutely mad characters was reminiscent of Lisa Shanahan. And this girl was just relatable, from her hate for nasal sprays to her love for Audrey Hepburn, throwing in the fact that her dad is a GP?!
Amy Hunter
Jun 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, bookclub
This book is full of nostalgic teenage memories for me! Loved all the Brisbane references and it had all the ingredients for the perfect YA book. The audiobook was great and I loved hearing both sides of the story.
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Cute young adult novel--I don't read many of those but this one is very Australian by Brisbane writers and I liked the dual author/narrator. Very fun. ...more
Jul 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: loveozya
3.5 stars.
Actual Rating: 3.5 Stars.

I picked this one up at a second hand store as it looked interesting with a cute cover. The story surrounds Joel and Cat (there is a surprise) - students in a Year 12 extension English class in Brisbane (around the Milton/Indooroopilly area). For their assessment they have to write a tandem story where one writes a segment and emails it to the other to continue and then back and forth for 2 weeks.

The actual book is set out in a similar format with chapters alternating
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aussie-ya
I picked this book up, intrigued by the blurb and interested to read by two well known Aussie authors. I’m glad I picked this up, cause now that I know I like Miss Sparrow’s prose, I’m looking forward to reading more by her!

As soon as I started reading from Cat’s POV (Rebecca Sparrow) I instantly liked her writing style. However, I didn’t really connect with the other author, Nick Earls, who wrote from Joel’s perspective.

This book was quite a roller coaster – one minute I was really enjoying it
Watermelon Daisy
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it

This is one of the most funniest, most romantic and lovable books of all time. For those who don't know me, Rebecca Sparrow is one of my favourite writers of all time. She's Australian, has the perfect sense of humour, and she doesn't have a main character who's obsessed with boys. They're always independent and can stand up on their own.

I loved Cat, the main girl character. Frequently blows her nose, a little paranoid and really, very clueless about the world.

And then there's Joel. Giant ego,
Dec 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: YA fans
Comparisons to Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist will be inevitable, but this book (also by Rebecca Sparrow, which doesn't show up on the listing) is a whole other creature entirely. Like Nick and Norah, it is written in alternate chapters by Earls (Joel) and Sparrow (Cat), but it extends over a couple of weeks, not one night, and is very different in tone and content.

What I really liked about it was the sort of internal hypertext--or meta text, I forget which one I mean--which is the story Jo
Mark Gee
Nov 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-young-people
Really enjoyed this book. Very clever. Great characters. It's fun to have two main characters and I really enjoyed the empathy of their worlds. I appreciated wondering about the expectations of each other when they know so little but we see all the stuff they're going through. ...more
Sep 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
so funny! i've never laughed out loud this many times from a book! ...more
Feb 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Funniest fricking thing in the world.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So much fun. Laughed so much. Nick at his funniest. Year 12 characters. Spoofy Matthew Reilly Jane Austen tandem story. Can I make everyone read it?
ok book but I read it ages ago so i can't quiet remember all that happned. slightly disapointing. ...more
May 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
This tandem book is better than both writers writing separate.
Kendra Jones
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Reading this book was pure nostalgia for high school. I remember really enjoying it when I first read it, which is why it's at a 3 star rather than a 2 or a 2.5.
This story follows Cat and Joel as they write a tandem story for their English Extension class. The problem is that they hate each other. Joel used to date Cat's best friend, Emma, until Cat found him cheating on her. Now that they have been paired up for this project, they have to figure out how to work with each other without killing t
Nov 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult, romance, 2018
This was an OK draft of a book that was released and became a very bad book.
Sorry. This could be rewritten and worked on at least 3 more times. Every plot and thing that happened looked like a big draft that would be explored better and written out better later on. The characters were pretty bad and annoying. And I hate hate hate the way women are depicted in this book.
I was honestly surprised there was a woman involved in the writing of this, because at first I thought it was only Nick Earls.

Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
The premise of this book was really clever- a tandem story written in tandem. But it just didn't work. It was not well written, in fact it was very obvious and they went for the cheap laughs. In addition, there were some pretty unnecessary and inappropriate events. At times I was really wondering who their audience was... it was too gross for young readers and too boring for older readers. Overall, it just felt like they underestimated the sophistication of teenagers. Even the pop references fel ...more
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Targeted at a younger audience than I’d usually read. The MC were in high school and actually acted their age! It was a fun read and I enjoyed the characters dynamic. I could see both the authors had fun writing this. My one and only disappointment is using suburbs I know and frequent. Completely my issue here but I like to imagine the places I read about and using real places that I know, just kind of brings me back to reality too much during my reading.
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Cute idea but half-baked execution, although maybe that’s partially because I read the second half during the democratic debate. It’s cute that the authors actually did the tandem story thing but still not really worth the time. Occasionally funny though
Claire Gilmour
Jun 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Witty and unique, this book was a real winner for me! I loved all of the local, Brisbane references and devoured the audio book over a couple of sessions.

Lots of moments that made me smile (and even laugh out loud!) Plenty of sass and teenage angst done perfectly. 4 solid stars!
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Nick Earls is the author of twelve books, including bestselling novels such as Zigzag Street, Bachelor Kisses, Perfect Skin and World of Chickens. His work has been published internationally in English and also in translation, and this led to him being a finalist in the Premier of Queensland’s Awards for Export Achievement in 1999.

Zigzag Street won a Betty Trask Award in the UK in 1998, and is cur

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