School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 9 Up-A side-splitting slice of male adolescence, this novel turns the spotlight on the ridiculousness that is the average, contemporary American high school experience, much as Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (MTV, 1999) did a decade ago, but with funnier results. Scrawny and slightly naive 17-year-old Mitchell's best friend comes out to him at lunch in the cafeteria, his younger sister railroads his not-so-social social life, he turns in a sort-of pornographic claymation film in lieu of an English paper, and somehow he finds popular Danielle encouraging him to go up her shirt. The plot takes a backseat to gems of dialogue ("virginity.... Keeps your wrist muscles supple") and inner voice ("I imagine every student in my English class. If I only have erections for the females, I'm straight. It's really the only way to tell"). Combined with gags about the school administration, it all adds up to a story that's so funny and yet so realistic. As in most high schools, there is a lot of talk about beer, butts, and banging, but in his blase cluelessness, Mitchell analyzes rather than glorifies such things (e.g., the make-out scene where he can't figure out where to put his hands). Readers should be prepared to laugh a lot, and to say "aw" at the tender resolution. A must-have for fiction collections.-Rhona Campbell, Washington, DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.