King of the Screwups
by Going, K. L.

After getting in trouble yet again, popular high school senior Liam, who never seems to live up to his wealthy father's expectations, is sent to live in a trailer park with his gay "glam-rocker" uncle.

K. L. GOING is the author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book; Saint Iggy; and The Garden of Eve. She lives and writes full-time in Glen Spey, New York.

Like her previous novels, including the Printz Honor Book Fat Kid Rules the World (2003), Going's latest is a surprising, memorable story shaped from unlikely character bonds. High-school senior Liam is a talented, straight athlete who is as gorgeous as his mother, a former supermodel, and has inherited her interest in clothes: "I love fashion. And girls." A mediocre student, he constantly disappoints his dad, an angry, sometimes verbally abusive executive who kicks Liam out of the house after one too many perceived transgressions. Against his homophobic dad's wishes, Liam moves in with his gay, cross-dressing, trailer-dwelling uncle, Aunt Pete. Determined to meet his father's expectations, Liam joins the AV club at his new school and actively tries to fight his natural status as "Mr. Popularity"; but once again, everything goes awry. Liam's parents occasionally feel more like caricatures than fully developed characters, but Liam and Aunt Pete are true originals, and Going balances her strong messages of self-discovery and acceptance with compassionate, bittersweet scenes that highlight the soul-sapping futility of trying to please unappeasable adults. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Popular, beautiful slacker Liam spends the majority of his time partying and chasing girls instead of focusing on his studies. To keep him in check, his dad kicks him out of the house and ships him off to live with his gay glam-rocking uncle. Bad hair, tights, bitchy neighbors, reality checks and fashion shows ensue. Going's latest flows easily with smooth, realistic dialogue and reads like a coming-out story for straight guys. This innovative, out-of-the-box approach juxtaposes stereotypes, received values, parental roles and masculinity in a jarringly fun and approachable manner that marks a triumphant left-turn for the genre. Cloaked as a story of tough love, this is actually a psychological exploration of the impact of parental expectations versus the dreams of their children. Nothing earned comes easy, however, and Liam finds that he does need to switch some of the gears inside his head, but he's not as big of a screw-up as his parents make him out to be. Moreover, trouble does follow him wherever he goes, but avoiding it is easier when you've got the right kind of support. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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