[review] Jyri Paretskoi: Shell’s Angles, Shell’s Angles – All Summer Long & Shell’s Angles and the Babes

Paretskoi, Jyri  shells_angles_ja_kalajoen_hiekat shell_sanglesshells3_1
Shell’s Angles [’Shell’s Angles’]
ISBN 978-951-0-39764-0
Karisto 2013

Shell’s Angles ja Kalajoen hiekat [’Shell’s Angles – All Summer Long’]
ISBN 978-951-23-5853-3I
Karisto 2014

Shell’s Angles ja beibit [’Shell’s Angles and the Babes’]
ISBN 978-951-23-6022-2
Karisto 2015

Shell’s Angles series is a humorous and eventful series about boys, life and mopeds, written by the Finnish author Jyri Paretskoi. The humorous attitude of the novels has also won him the Topelius Award in 2014 (for his debut Shell’s Angles) and the Laivakello Award in 2016 (for the whole series). Essential for the Shell’s Angles series is the combination of verbal humour, situational comedy and fiddle that nevertheless divulges a warm and understanding attitude towards the world of boys. Furthermore, each of the main characters has their own thoughts about life, school, love and future. Intertwined in the three boys’ stories are also more problematic questions, such as gambling addiction and domestic violence.

The sympathetic main characters are the Finnish junior high school-aged boys Henri, Samu and Rudi who live in the town of Iisalmi, Finland. In the first novel, the boys found their own moped club. The central questions of their lives have to do with family relations and relationships with girls. Even though the protagonists are young adult males and the main-target audience is generally boys, nothing, of course, prevents female readers from enjoying the stories. Also, for example Henri’s crush Milla, who later becomes his girlfriend, obtains an equal part in the gang and the series, already in the first novel.

The second part of the series, ’Shell’s Angles – All Summer Long’ focuses on the Finnish summer, boys, girls and a moped road trip to the west coast. The reason for the trip is Rudi’s crush Hanna, although the trip itself is of course important in itself when you are a fifteen-year-old boy and have founded a moped club. Weaved into the plot are also questions concerning equality, homosexuality and the pressure regarding one’s looks. The third part, ’Shell’s Angels and the Babes’, continues the series. In addition to the core substance of mopeds and friendships, a pivotal plotline has to do with Rudi’s girlfriend, who is pregnant. The novel discusses the issue from the adolescent male point of view, which is a relatively rare take on the topic.

Shell’s Angels series is an easy-to-read, well-written and funny series about contemporary Finnish boys, their way of life and thoughts. It is warmly recommended to anyone fond of verbal humour, situational comedy and an appreciative way of writing about youth – and mopeds.

Myry Voipio

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