Cover image for All shook up
All shook up
1st Yearling ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Yearling, [2009], c2008.
Physical Description:
261 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
Geographic Term:
When thirteen-year-old Josh goes to stay with his father in Chicago for a few months, he discovers--to his horror--that his dad has become an Elvis impersonator.


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The King of Rock 'n' Roll lives! And he's Josh's dad.

When 13-year-old Josh finds out that he has to stay with his dad in Chicago for a few months, he's not too thrilled. But when he arrives at the airport, he's simply devastated. His father--who used to be a scatterbrained but pretty normal shoe salesman--has become . . . Elvis. Well, a sideburnwearing, hip-twisting, utterly-embarrassing Elvis impersonator.

Josh is determined to keep his dad's identity a secret, but on his very first day at his new school, a note appears on his locker. It's signed Elvisly Yours, and instead of a name, a sneering purple smiley face. The secret is out, and when his dad is invited to perform at a special 50s concert at his school, Josh is forced to take drastic action. From award-winning author Shelley Pearsall comes a hilarious novel about discovering the important (and sometimes painful) difference between who you want to be--and who you really are.

"Alternately wry, silly, thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny." --BookPage

Author Notes

A former teacher and museum historian, Shelley Pearsall is now a full-time writer. Her first novel, Trouble Don't Last, won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. To learn more about the author and her work, visit . She lives in Silver Lake, Ohio.

Reviews 4

Horn Book Review

While staying with his father in Chicago, thirteen-year-old Josh is mortified to discover that Dad has reinvented himself as an Elvis impersonator. Things go from bad to worse when he receives an invitation to perform at Josh's new school. Pearsall believably and humorously explores the nuances of this parent-teen relationship with a twist. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

A child of divorce, 13-year-old Josh wryly calls himself a shared kid, meaning he spends a lot of time shuttling between his parents, who live half a continent apart. Arriving in Chicago to spend more than the usual amount of time with his dad (it's complicated), he finds that his free-spirited father has become an Elvis impersonator. Worse, Dad's new girlfriend has a hippie daughter, Ivory, who is Josh's age and (a) knows the awful truth about Dad and (b) takes a likin' to Josh. Terrified that the kids at his new school will learn about Dad, Josh tries to distance himself from Ivory and from his well-meaning father. Pearsall's premise is clever, but the execution is more than a tad predictable. Nevertheless, some funny moments, some offbeat characters, and some elements of suspense (Will Dad's identity be revealed? Will Elvis leave the building?) will keep most readers engaged.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2008 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-8-Josh Greenwood, 13, lives with his mom in Boston, but he is shipped off to his dad in Chicago when she has to go to Florida to care for her mother. Once there, he discovers that his shoe-salesman father has lost his job and is now an Elvis impersonator. Dad's new girlfriend owns a vintage clothing shop and her daughter, Ivory, wears outfits that are wacky mismatched blasts from the past, and she has a boyfriend who wears a dog collar. "Hard" does not even begin to cover Josh's feelings about his new life. Of course, in true middle schooler fashion, he is unable to see anything except how this situation affects him. His potential for humiliation and embarrassment are central to his character and lead to an explosive division between him and his father. Through a wonderful and believable process of discovery orchestrated partially by Ivory and her mom, father and son come to understand one another. Pearsall has given Josh an authentic voice, and his first-person narrative is engaging throughout.-Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Since his parents split when he was five, 13-year-old Josh Greenwood is accustomed to dividing his time between Boston with his orderly mother and Chicago vacations with his forgetful, shoe-salesman father. When Josh's grandmother in Florida takes a fall, however, Josh's mother sends him to Chicago where he'll have to start his seventh-grade year at a new school. Josh arrives to find the shoe store where his dad worked has closed, and his dad looking...Elvis-y. Josh can handle his dad's possible girlfriend Viv and her over-friendly and rather strange daughter Ivory, but he can't take everyone knowing about his dad's new "job." School starts, and to Josh's horror Viv signs his dad up to impersonate Elvis at his school's '50s theme day. Pearsall's fourth is funny, realistic and slightly sarcastic, and the eventual changes in Josh's relationship with his dad are both believable and well-handled. Boys especially will identify with Josh's struggle to escape the stigma of an embarrassing parent. (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.



Looking back, I would say everything in my life changed the summer I turned thirteen and my dad turned into Elvis. I'd heard people say thirteen was an unlucky number, and from the very beginning, that seemed to be true. I'd been thirteen for less than twenty-four hours when the phone call came from Florida about my grandma taking a fall on the steps of the Shadyside Episcopal Church and breaking her hip. That same day, somebody swiped my bike from the rack at the city pool because-yes-I'd stupidly left it unlocked. And then my mom decided to ship me off to Chicago for four months so she could rush to Florida to take care of my grandma. Before arriving in Illinois in August, I didn't know anything about my dad being Elvis. Well, that's not quite true. I knew there were people who pretended to be Elvis. You know-sideburns, sunglasses, twisting hips, jiggly legs, and all. But I never thought my own dad would become one of them. Neither did my mother, or she probably wouldn't have put me on that plane. I'd have gone to Shadyside Villas instead, where I could have stayed with her and a lot of nice old people while we waited for Grandma's hip to recover. But my dad, in his usual style, didn't mention a word about Elvis when my mom called him. "Great. No problem. Sure. Josh can stay with me," he must have told her on the phone-while I stood on the other side of the kitchen doorway crossing my fingers behind my back, whispering, "No, say no" under my breath. As they were talking, I could hear my mom clattering a spoon around and around a mixing bowl, loudly making something for dinner. She never spoke to my father without sounding extremely busy. "So you don't mind keeping Josh?" I heard her say. "Until Shirley's better? The doctors told me it could be a few months. He'll have to be enrolled in school. Are you sure this isn't going to be a problem?" Keep Josh. That phrase again. Like I was somebody's pet guinea pig or prize Chihuahua getting passed back and forth. Keep Josh. Take Josh. Pick up Josh. Note to my parents: Why not ask Josh what he would like to do? But after eight years of being shipped between two houses almost a thousand miles apart, I knew it was pretty much useless to say anything. I was the SHARED KID and both of my parents liked me better if I seemed okay with their arrangement. So that's why I ended up telling my mom I was fine with living in Chicago for a while and staying with my dad and even going to a different school. Although I wasn't really fine with any of those things. Especially not the new school. From the Hardcover edition. Excerpted from All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.