Stocky stoner prankster Frenchy and his wealthy hippie friend Stewart usually prefer to bide their time smoking weed and plotting tricks to unleash on their unsuspecting school, but when Stewart hears that the drama department is putting on The Man of La Mancha, he eagerly convinces Frenchy to audition with him.
Stewart and Frenchy land the lead roles of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, respectively, and all hell breaks loose as Frenchy and the cast watch Stewart's mind disintegrate into dementia in rehearsals as opening night approaches. Stahler knows high-school boyspeak well, and both characters walk and talk like real teen boys who've known each other forever. He successfully renders other characters as well, including a stage-manager love interest for Frenchy. He stumbles with plot, however. While the parallels between the boys' lives and the musical are obvious, the allusions will feel bizarre and random to teen readers not familiar with either the play or the Cervantes original, especially when Stewart shows up to class in full costume and makeup with a saber.The end may or may not be a surprise to readers, but ultimately this story of a high-school friend trying to save his buddy will be tough to find an audience for. (Fiction. 14 & up)