Rudetsky, Seth. “My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan”, Ember, 2012.
A Funny and Human Novel
If you have ever read Seth Rudetsky, you know that he is a very witty writer and now he turns his humor on his first young adult novel. And there is plenty of humor in this book.
Justin is a sophomore in high school and he has two specific goals: first, to get a date with straight Chuck, the hottest boy in the school and second, to not only sit at the “in” table in the cafeteria but to be its king. There is a problem, however—Justin is short and chubby and has very curly black hair and he likes Broadway show music, plays the violin and sings in the chorus. He has two friends, Spencer, who is into Eastern religions and Mary Ann who does not believe in shaving her armpits. Just to make things a little worse, Chuck is dating one of Justin’s friends, Becky who sings in the chorus with him. Now we all know that determination can cause change and Justin in determined and has a plan. Becky’s father does not like Chuck so Justin suggests that Justin pick Becky up because her dad loves him and then later they will meet up with Chuck. Justin thinks this will secure him a place as Chuck’s friend.
Rudetsky gives us a very funny read yet it is also very serious. Justin, like all of us, just wants to be popular and how he goes about this, we get a look at a youngster who does not fit in.
Justin has moxie and nerve and once he gets an idea, he runs with it. The humor is sarcastic but then we are dealing with a gay teenager who is trying to find his way through high school. The depiction of the friendship between Justin and Spencer is written realistically and the two share some really clever inside jokes.
It is so easy to identify with the characters and the fact that this book has such a universal theme makes it important. It may be written for young adults but we can all enjoy it.