Books by Jake Wizner

Released: May 26, 2009

Max, an actor, and Olivia, a playwright, meet at drama camp when Max trips over Olivia. While Max jumps through hoops to win Olivia's heart, Olivia spends most of her time working on her play, Castration Celebration, which is inspired by her cheating father. Tired rather than titillating, Olivia's play, a semi-retelling of Much Ado About Nothing, is exactly that. During drama camp, Max and Olivia are supported by a cast of artistic roommates, including a pot-smoking guitarist and a lesbian actress. Buried in page after page of increasingly tiresome penis jokes is a painfully realistic romance, full of manipulation and confusion. Max, Olivia and their friends are caring and witty, but therein lies the book's biggest problem: They are so witty, with the perfect response to all situations, that they become caricatures rather than three-dimensional characters. Their confusion over sex and love is palpable; however, the hints of emotion that come through are often hard to find while the reader wades through pages of Castration Celebration script and anatomy jokes. Nonetheless, the title and content guarantee that this volume will be stolen from library shelves everywhere. (Fiction. YA) Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 25, 2007

King of comedy Shakespeare Shapiro spins essays, poetry, letters and yearbook entries to chronicle the ups, downs, crushes, mishaps, perversions and general sense of hilarious melee that comprise his senior year. Infamously named by his hippie, occasionally alcoholic parents—his brother's name is Gandhi—his adventures don't veer too far off the usual teenage-boy-coming-of-age track. However, Wizner infuses his voice with an over-the-top, biting wit that punches his seemingly sane life episodes into knee-slapping, lewd-icrous territory. His lusts become blunter with every horny thought he lays down on paper. His best friend becomes far more scatologically inclined than any other teenaged boy to hit the young-adult market, and his yearnings for another budding essayist named Charlotte cause him to spout forth some utterly cheesy rhymes in pursuit of her favor. Alternating between Shakespeare's reality and his writing, Wizner's first novel packs the stitches in tight. Readers wishing he could get on with the story will most likely begin rolling their eyes at the main character's expounding after the first 100 pages, but they'll still be laughing. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >