Saturday, February 11, 2012

Book Review: “My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan” by Seth Rudetsky



Provided Via: Netgalley
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 1/24/12

The Scoop: (Goodreads)
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.

My Take:
My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan is a fun, frothy, frolic that reminded me of some of my favorite “chick-lit” books.  Justin finds himself in embarrassing/funny/awkward situations ala Becky Bloomwood and Bridget Jones. You can see that our hero is making bad decisions that will only lead to trouble, but it’s so much fun to see how he’s going to get out of it.

Awwww. I miss your shenannigans!

I’ve been a fan of Rudetsky (better known for his Broadway resume) for years. He hosts a couple of my favorite Broadway talk shows on Sirius/XM’s Broadway Channel, writes regular features for Playbill and has been in several Broadway and Off-Broadway productions himself. With that in mind, I knew that Broadway musicals were going to feature in his debut novel and, as a fan, I relished the references, although they might not be for everyone.

Dear Broadway, I adore you so. Love, Steph
This is the first YA romance I’ve read that features a homosexual hero. I loved that it wasn’t preachy or deep. It just was. Justin is funny, sassy and awkward all at the same time and his BFF, Spencer, is a perfect foil to all of his half-baked plans.
In the end My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan wasn’t so much about the differences between people with different sexual preferences, it was a testament to how similar their situations actually are. First crushes and first love are strange territory for any teenager and Rudetsky has shown just how funny it can be too.

Final Verdict:

5 comments:

  1. Sounds fun! And I think I'd like the broadway references as well.

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    Replies
    1. You should check it out, It's really a quick fun read!

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  2. Definitely interesting. As you may or may not know, I teach at a performing arts high school. Not to cast such a stereotype as to say all the kids are gay, but we certainly have our fair share. I think I'll talk to my librarian about getting this one on the shelves. And not just because of the sexual preference side of it, but because of the other things you mention as well. We spend a lot of time in my classes talking about what it is like to be a teenager in general and the accompanying struggles.

    And interesting review of the new Anne Rice. I've been talking with horror buddies about what will be the next big thing in horror, and many have speculated werewolves, especially in an age where so many people are discontented yet still supposed to act civilized. The werewolf represents that side of us that is allowed to be wild.

    Paul D. Dail
    www.pauldail.com- A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

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    1. I would absolutely recommend it. My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan isn't going to change the world, but it doesn't need to. It's just good fun.

      I'm still a little on the fence with The Wolf Gift. I loved many aspects of it, but then again there were parts that...not so much. I agree with your thoughts about the popularity of werewolf tales. I've had similar thought about the resurgence of zombies. Zombies aren't technically still people. Therefore, the protagonists are allowed to bash some heads without coming across as serial killers.

      Thanks for stopping by! I'm off to check out part two of your End of the World post.

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  3. nice opinion.. thanks for sharing....

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