Saturday, April 21, 2012

"My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan" by Seth Rudetsky

224 pages

Justin has two goals for sophomore year: to date Chuck, the hottest boy in school, and to become part of the in crowd. Unfortunately, there are a few obstacles in his way. First of all, Chuck isn't gay; he's dating Becky, one of the most popular girls in school. The outlook isn't that great for Justin's popularity, either. He has the wrong look (short and plump with a "Jew-fro") and the wrong interests (Broadway, violin, choir). His friends aren't exactly helping his social status, either: Spencer is into Eastern religions, and Mary Ann's hippie mom won't let her shave her armpits. Then, with a stroke of genius, Justin comes up with a plan to get his man and cool new friends...but of course things don't go exactly as he expected.

The basic content of this story is pretty standard young adult stuff, but (obviously) the protagonist's sexual orientation gives it a different perspective. It's great that we're seeing more LGBT teen lit these days, but there still isn't a ton. Anyway, Justin just completely cracked me up. I didn't care that the plot is predictable because I was having too much fun getting to know the characters. Sure, Justin is self-centered and kind of selfish, but who hasn't been like that at some point during adolescence? I still really liked and related to him. The ending is a bit too fairy-tale-like, and I think it glosses over the homophobia that would probably be there (especially at the end). However, it's a fun, entertaining story, and I enjoyed every page. 

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