Specky Magee and the Best of Oz Reviewed by Julian Virgona (Year 9)
Specky Magee and the Best of Oz, written by Felice Arena and Garry Lyon, is a Sports Fiction book about a young AFL ace Simon ‘Specky’ Magee as he travels to Ireland to represent Australia in International Rules Football (Gaelic). Joined in the journey by a team of close friends, who were also selected for the team, Specky not only had his mind set on the game, but also the two girls fighting over him back in Australia and whether he should take up the amazing opportunity to try out for Manchester United.
If I could describe Best of Oz in four words they would be ‘same old, same old’. It’s the same Specky Magee we know and love… or like anyway. The writing style, character style and simple and easy-to-follow storyline are consistent throughout all the other books and this one. However, this isn’t exactly good.
Two of the most frustrating factors of these books return in Best of Oz. The first is the nicknames. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a nickname in this book. Some are good and make sense with their real name, but some are just absolutely ridiculous! Like the nickname ‘Special K’ for a boy named Kevin Kottersley. Can you imagine shouting out ‘Special K’ over a football pitch?
The second is the ridiculous similes no one would actually use in real life. One of my favourite worst ones was, ‘He (Specky) was ducking and weaving like Gary Ablett on Grand Final day when his ex arrived on the scene’. Things like this really put me off the book.
The storyline however, is actually one of the strongest points of Best of Oz, however weak it may be. As usual, we follow Specky on yet another sporting adventure which will push his skills to the limit and give him some serious decisions to make about his future that could change his life completely. Hasn’t this happened about eight times now?
Despite the repetitiveness, the story is still good and gives those who are getting a little tired of the constant football that occurs in the Specky Magee universe a chance to experience something new. I for one enjoyed the fact that Gaelic was the focus of this book, as I learned a few new things about a really interesting sport. The best parts of the Best of Oz are the action-packed, description filled games. However predictable they are, they still provide the best chapters in the book and can be suspenseful at times.
To top it all off, guess how Best of Oz finished… as a bridge to another book. Another book! What could the authors possibly think of writing next? Another footy season? I think it’s about time Specky hung up his boots for an early retirement, otherwise this series is going to get even more repetitive and is going to start losing its fans.
In conclusion, Specky Magee and the Best of Oz, isn’t exactly the best Specky Magee book of the series. It contains numerous flaws that were in previous books and contains very few strong points to make it a good book. It is repetitive and predictable. I would only recommend it to die hard Specky Magee fans who are craving more Specky and more sporting action, and love the corny lines, jokes and nicknames.
To check out everything Specky, visit the Specky Magee website.