Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mash Day: Those Clever Boys

You know that kind of person who always has the instant comeback? Or that person who appears to know absolutely everything about mainstream culture, and can reference it in a quippy heartbeat? I'm not totally convinced that there truly are people like that, (or at least people who are like that all the time) but they sure make good characters, don't they?
If you think so, read these two books:
The Edumacation of Jay Baker: Every single character in this book has the gift of a snappy, instantaneous comeback. I kid you not. In addition, everyone knows everything about pop culture, and can reference it in a heartbeat. If that sounds fun to you, rather than slightly exhausting, then read, read, read. Here's what's going on in Jay's world: His parents might be getting a divorce, he's love with his perky, cute best friend, and he is constantly getting in verbal insult matches with one of his classmates. Homophobic, weight phobic, mother insulting kind of fights. Real mature stuff. In any case, Jay builds a mentor-type friendship with one of his teachers, starts going out with the new tennis girl, and learns more about his mom's seedy past. Like tennis? Enjoy Your Mama jokes? Have scorn for student government or homecoming games? Give this book a try!
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Greg is a human joke machine. When he's on auto-pilot, he can riff up a storm. The catch is, he spends most of his time working hard at just floating by, not getting too committed to any friendships, in case that puts him at odds with any other group of classmates. Greg's other secret? He and his best friend Earl have been making movies for years, but nobody has ever seen them. Greg just really isn't willing to go out on a limb and face potential rejection.
Now Greg's mom has decided that he should go hang out with Rachel, a family friend's daughter who just found out that she has leukemia. Greg begins to spend a lot of time with Rachel, cracking jokes to pass the time, and eventually showing her his movies. As Rachel gets sicker, Greg continues to try to convince us, his audience, that he doesn't care, and hasn't learned anything or changed at all from his experience. Somehow, through the constant irreverent humor, we can see that not all is as Greg would like us to believe.

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