A fetchingly youthful, exuberant first novel about a handsome, narcissistic student who discovers love and sorrow. Narrator Ken Harrison, a stunningly good-looking high-school hockey player from a suburb of Chicago, has everything going for him--looks, sports, a luscious girlfriend named Elizabeth--but when he gets to the University of Stockton as a freshman, he finds that the world doesn't turn on his axis. He doesn't make the hockey team (while an old rival does); women turn him down (someone even starts a rumor that he's gay); hardly anyone laughs at his jokes; and his hair actually starts falling out! He even turns on Elizabeth (suspecting--unfairly--that she has slept with his best friend). When she kills herself, the novel takes a dark, surrealistic turn. Ken is picked up by the police, who suspect him of intending to molest a young child; the charges are dropped, but Ken leaves Stockton, moves to a big city, and ends up modeling and taking on bit jobs, utterly changed from his high-school self, still drifting from the shock of Elizabeth's death. Gault (like Ken) is given to sophomoric humor (bathroom jokes, characters with names like Henry Kissing-Balls), and heavy-handed sexual imagery (""If it was possible to harness my mother' sexual energy by sticking a tube in her vagina and playing with her nipples, you could keep the lights on in Los Angeles for years""), but there are great energy and ingenuousness here that bodes well for Gault's future.