Audie Award Nominee, Multi-voiced Performance, 2013
Justin has two goals for sophomore year: to date Chuck, the hottest boy in school, and to become the king of Cool U, the table in the cafeteria where the "in" crowd sits. Unfortunately, he has the wrong look (short, plump, Brillo-pad curls), he has the wrong interests (Broadway, chorus, violin), and he has the wrong friends (Spencer, into Eastern religions, and Mary Ann, who doesn't shave her armpits). And Chuck? Well, he's not gay; he's dating Becky, a girl in chorus with whom Justin is friendly.
But Justin is determined.
In detention one day (because he saw Chuck get it first), Justin comes up with a perfect plan: to allow Becky to continue dating Chuck, whom Becky's dad hates. They will pretend that Becky is dating Justin, whom Becky's dad loves. And when Becky and Justin go out on a fake date, Chuck will meet up with them for a real date with Becky. Chuck's bound to find Justin irresistable, right? What could go wrong?
Seth Rudetsky's first novel for young adults is endearingly human and laugh-out-loud funny. And any kid who ever aspired to Cool U will find Justin a welcome ally in the fight for popularity.
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Fun, fun, (major) fun. It's categorized as a young adult book, but don't let that stop you. And if you're not a gay teenage boy, don't let that stop you either. Because this quest for a boyfriend/girlfriend is something most people can relate to.
Of course, it brings to mind Seth Rudetsky's other book, BROADWAY NIGHTS, which dealt with the grown-up version of the musically-talented and lovelorn hero, a decent guy who's looking for Mr. Right. This one, Broadway Nights, is hysterically funny and has a lot of insider information about the workings of Broadway. . Seth's use of language is really clever, so much so that I want to listen to the whole book again.
Seth Rudetsky is one-of-a-kind. I can't imagine this book without his narration, because he brings so much of himself to the role. That man can certainly turn a phrase! It's laugh-out-loud funny in places, entertaining throughout, and brings back memories of all that high school drama. Seth voices the main character, with terrific actors like Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Megan Hilty, Will Swenson, Josh Gad, and Ana Gasteyer voicing the supporting characters. It's such an assembly of talent!
It caused a release of endorphins and kept me entertained on an otherwise uneventful road trip.
I liked both of Seth's books so much for their pure entertainment value that I had to email him and let him know. He sent me a message from his iPhone (!) a short time later, and now he has a dedicated fan in me. (His YouTube videos and other pursuits are really entertaining as well. He's a versatile musician who plays piano and conducts orchestras. Check him out.)