By Leigh Andrews

April-May – so named because her parents couldn’t agree on a name for her – is a grade nine bursary student at the somewhat snooty Trinity College. Her best friend, Melly, is missing the start of the school term as she is having an operation so that she can breathe through her nose instead of her mouth. As a result, April-May is seated beside a new bursary student named Ericca Ntona or Fatty, due to his size. The two start off on an antagonistic note when April-May is given detention for eating in class when their teacher notes an empty lunch box on the desk (it’s Fatty’s, and he lets her take the fall) but a friendship starts to develop when April-May stumbles upon Fatty making beautiful music in the park with the lime-green eyed Sebastian, an ex-Trinity College pupil.

There’s so much to enjoy in this fun read set in South Africa in June 2010 – World Cup fever time. April-May’s mother is pregnant, her hearse-driving father, Fluffy, has asked his girlfriend and her young son, Mrs Ho and Sam Ho, to move into ‘Chez Matchbox’ with them to save money. Chez Matchbox is under renovations so as to make some money from soccer-mad foreigners looking to rent a room, April-May and Fatty are made to attend ‘therapy’ sessions at school as they have issues with their respective mothers and April-May makes a sad discovery about the super intelligent and annoying Sam Ho following a medical emergency that lands him in hospital. Then there is ‘Alistair the Awesome-ist’, a dog who plays a central role in bringing all the characters together ...

Devoured in an evening and highly recommended. Melly, Fatty and Me is published by Penguin.