EXTREME ELVIN by Chris Lynch


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Pudgy, frantic Elvin, introduced in Slot Machine (1995), takes a hilarious, roller-coaster plunge into Young Adulthood. Going, perhaps, where no YA author has gone before, Lynch afflicts his hero with hemorrhoids (""'It shows?' 'No, you could have a squirrel down your pants making you walk that way'""), then heaps on the stress by having him lock eyes with friendly, Junoesque Barbara and hold hands with Sally, a dazzler who later, as a practical joke, announces that she has scabies. The ensuing rumors that she gave him an STD gives him a social leg up, plus a party invitation from Darth, a smooth, menacing teen Svengali. Supported by a cast of familiar types, led by his sensitive but not entirely earnest mother, Elvin struggles desperately to keep his balance in the rush of events--and fails. His exaggerated emotional highs and lows drive Barbara away (not forever, one hopes) and turn the party into a complete personal disaster. Lynch opts to end on a downswing, with Elvin miserably hiding out in the garage licking his wounds, but readers will be breathless--not only from laughter and the story's headlong pace, but from the author's audacity in his choice of topics for comic inquiry.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1999
Page count: 230pp
Publisher: HarperCollins