Saturday, October 17, 2009

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going

K.L. Going's Fat Kid Rules the World is one of my favorite YA books. King of the Screwups is almost as good; it's a story about a guy who has a cold and thoughtless father and idealizes his mother (sound kind of familiar?). Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity - he's handsome, has fantastic fashion sense, and knows how to talk to people. These character traits fail to impress dad, who lets Liam know he's worthless on a regular basis, and remind mom of her more glamorous modeling days when she traveled the world with little Liam at her feet. Liam gets caught drunk with a girl in dad's office and this event is the catalyst for the rest of the story. Liam is kicked out of the house, instead of sending him to Nevada to live with his militant grandparents, his mom arranges for him to live with his Aunt Pete, his dad's gay brother who has been estranged from the family for years. Going could have written a stereotypical token gay character as Aunt Pete, instead she creates a real middle-aged man working at a small town radio station with his feet firmly on the ground that never seems staged. Aunt Pete is the best part of the book and he convinces Liam that he's more than King of the Screwups. Fans of The Spectacular Now will love this one.

Grades 9+