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The Parent Agency

(The Blockbuster Baddiel Box)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,249 ratings  ·  172 reviews
A boy travels to an alternate world where kids get to choose their own parents in this zany, internationally bestselling adventure, which combines the be-careful-what-you-wish-for humor of The Chocolate Touch with the classic appeal of Roald Dahl.

Barry Bennett is sick of his parents. They’re boring, they’re too strict, and it’s their fault his name is Barry. So he makes a
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by HarperCollins (first published October 9th 2014)
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  2,249 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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“What would you like for lunch?”
“Hmm,” said Barry. “Pizza?”
“Oh well, you’ve made a mistake there,” said Secretary One smugly. “We only ever eat gluten-free, free-range, nut-free, free-from-E-numbers, salt-and-sugar-free food.”
“Yes, our food is very, very free,” said Secretary Two. “Except, of course, it costs a lot of money.”
Edit: 18-12-2019. Decided to do a reread since it has been almost 5 years (!!!) since I last read it!
I didn't like the MC that much but it was still a very fun re-read and I may write a re-read review when I feel up to it/feel better.

My 3-star rating has mostly to do with our main character. Other than that the book was really interesting and I like the idea of a Parent Agency.

Let's start with the main character. I just didn't like him. I found him whiny and pathetic. Never once thinking about h
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: guest-reviews
Review by Jack 9:6

The Parent Agency is a children’s comedy book, which in my opinion is suitable for all ages. The author is a comedian but the book does not have many laugh-out-loud moments, mostly using more subtle humour. The story follows a normal boy named Barry, who hates his parents. When he screams, “I hate my parents!” after being sent to his room he is teleported to a world where children choose their parents. He trials five sets of parents, one per day.
Barry chooses each trial set of
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Definitely interesting!!!
Feb 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 10-14 year olds
Recommended to YABookReviews by: My Mum
Title: The Parent Agency

Author: David Baddiel

Rating: 8/10

Would you like your parents? Do you wish you could choose your parents? Well, that is what Barry Bennet wanted, and he got it. Barry Bennet is a normal kid, who hates his parents. At first, this seems like a dream come true. But as he’s about to find out that, choosing a new mum and dad isn’t as easy as it sounds…

I loved this book, its funny, witty and has lots of heartwarming moments. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves futuri
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Barry is just an ordinary boy (he loves Lionel Messi and James Bond) but bored with his ordinary family that he wishes he could swap for another. He is particularly fed up with his younger twin sisters. It is a funny story that often twists your mind as sometimes you are not quite sure what’s going on! I found that, once I had started reading it, I didn’t want to stop. I recommend this book to people below the age of 12 but overall I give it a 9 out of 10.This ...more
Jun 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My twin boys (8yrs) declared this their favourite book of all time. We read it together at bedtime and every night they begged and pleaded for another chapter. A really enjoyable, funny and moreish read.
Marie the Librarian
It was times when it tried too hard to be funny and for me it was a bit predictable and easy to see what was going to happen. Its funny though and I think for sure that some kids will love it. Its just lacking something to make it a bit more complex, its all very straightforward in a way.
Emīls Bekmanis
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bad book
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a very interesting, funny book and i loved reading it. It has a nice storyline and i didn’t want to stop reading it! I recommend to ages 10-13
Katy Noyes
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars.

Well done, David! After a slightly wobbly start for me (silly immature jokes and lists), I quickly saw that this was going to turn into an excellent wish-fulfilment adventure for young readers.

Like the 90s films North (Elijah Wood), Barry decides that he has rubbish parents and wishes he had different ones. He hates his name, he hates them being tired and poor, he hates his younger sisters. Now whether or not the following chapters are somehow real or a dream doesn't really matter. It'
Bookish Devil
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
So near yet so far !!

This book has so much of potential but somehow things dint fall into place quite well.
The humor ... on which the entire book is based on, din't seem to work well at most of the places. The story line was very predictable but this book being a middle grade novel din't really need to have such an elaborate and complex plot. The first few chapters were very fun to read but as the story progressed, it became kind of repetitive. Some of the puns were really really good whil
Amy-Jo Conant
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
In a world of sad, heavy, deep, sometimes disturbing adolescent books there's The Parent Agency, an ode to youth and its whimsy. This is a very good book. Because I'm an adult reading it I give it a three. I think that number will move up or down based on your preferences. If you don't enjoy whimsy or predictability then it will likely go down. If you like a bit of fun and silliness and lighthearted then it will go up.

The basic plot: Disgruntled Barry is totally disgusted by his own tired, bori
Hannah Belyea
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
After complaining about his boring, poor and strict his parents are, Barry is brought to an agency that gives him five chances to find new parents before he turns ten, with onimous consequences awaiting him should he not choose before time runs out...Baddiel will keep young readers entertained with his childish sense of humour, though the unlikeable characters and constant potty humour will drive off older audiences.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sara Eames
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK, firstly this is a kid's book - so there is no depth to it. But, if you want a quick, predictable, easy read with good characters and a totally predictable story-line, then you can't really go wrong with a kid's book. On the whole, this was an ok read - it was enjoyable at times and mildly amusing. I am sure many children will relate to Barry and will enjoy the story. ...more
Dec 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked the general idea behind this book and I liked the storyline. But the main character... ok, I get that 10 year olds have limited brainfunction, but if I had read this as a 9 -12 year old I would have found it sooooo akward. I really feel sorry for parents 4 and 5. He is really horrible! But I guess he might be written like that for a reason. so 3 stars.
Meryem Anib
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the book, especially the twist at the end!
Jon Nikrich
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sincerely funny for both dad and son, which is what you want as a dad reading to your son.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So funny.
Sara Rourke
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this with my 9 year old and we both thoroughly enjoyed it. It kept my interest as much as my 9 year old, which was something. We will be looking out for more David Baddiel books
Naturalbri (Bri Wignall)
*Received as an ARC*

The Story

Even if we don't want to admit it, we've all had a time when we felt a bit fed up with out parents. So much, we wished we had new ones, better ones. Usually this feeling goes away, and we feel bad for ever having thought such a thing...but, what if it didn't go away? What if each day was such a drag, you hated every moment - Being ignored, your brother/sister was the favourite, lame gifts, boring parents, embarrassing parents and even...groundings!

What if it didn't
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It had a good concept and plot
Jun 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Are you parents sooo boring? Are they too strict? Like your brother/sister/dog better than you? Not wealthy enough to give you the lifestyle you want to become accustomed to? What would you do if you could pick your own parents: what would be on your wish list? Barry Bennett feels the same way. His parents are too boring, they’re not rich, they’re strict, they named him Barry, and after they mess up his perfect idea of a James Bond birthday, he’s fed up. He wishes he had new parents, and finds h ...more
Pop Bop
Oct 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Cool, Warmer, Warm, Hot, Cooler, Cooler, Cold

Interesting setup. Barry is unhappy with his parents, (they like his sisters best, they're dull, they don't cater to his desires). But, when he enters an alternate world in which kids get to try out new parents, and parents compete to earn a kid's favor, he learns some grass-isn't-always-greener lessons. That's pretty neat, and what early middle grade reader isn't going to be at least intrigued by the premise?

The execution, though, was a little schizo
Valerie McEnroe
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Had no idea what to expect and it turned out to be really entertaining with a great message to boot.

Barry hates his name. It's too old-fashioned and he blames his parents. He blames them for a whole list of things. One of which is the lame birthday parties they come up with. Barry is about to turn 10. He loves two things. James Bond and Lionel Messi. They can't even plan a James Bond themed party that is mildly fun. Barry storms off in protest and the ne
James Ward
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of The Parent Agency and from the synopsis it sounded like a fun read and it truly was. Barry hated his name, hated the way his parents were, they were boring, and they always too his twin sisters side on everything. He was 9 years old coming up to 10 and his parents wouldn't allow him to do things his friends were doing. After asking his parents for a James Bond party and getting the hump he goes to his room and strange things start happening. He arrives in the Parent Agency. ...more
Green Jazz Blues
Oh no!!! Why did I have to pick another author of kids' books who indulges in toilet talk and swear words??? It makes me positively ill. If the author left all that out, I would rate this book fantastic.
The theme is fairly predictable and the parents Barry chose in the end was also predictable but his adventures trying out different parents was surprisingly mind-blowing. The near ending also was totally unexpected.
There is a small expectation that you know about movie actors and James Bond chara
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David Lionel Baddiel is an English comedian, novelist and television presenter. Baddiel was born in New York, and moved to England when he was four months old. He grew up in grew up in Dollis Hill, Willesden, North London.

After studying at Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School in Elstree, he read English at King's College, Cambridge and graduated with a double first. He began studies for a PhD in Engl

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