We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)
(3) Base Camp
We know our Shmoopsters are the best and the brightest, so There Is No Dog should be a piece of cake. After all, half of the plot is a love story—not too complicated, right?
The writing isn't going to cause much trouble, either. Like this, from right near the beginning of the book:
The sun spreads warm and golden on Lucy's face and arms. Pale new leaves unfurl so fast she can almost hear the little sighs they make as they open. (1.2)
Okay, so it's a little gushy, but it's pretty straightforward. What bumps the story up to a 3 is its heavy reliance on the Bible, Christian history, and Greco-Roman mythology. When Rosoff parodies Genesis or Bob is described as seducing a girl in the shape of a swan, it helps to know the original reference—although it's not necessary.
Still, it's always more fun to be in on the joke. And, since we always want you to have fun, we've included a bunch of references for you in our "Shout-Outs" so you won't miss a single thing.