Homeless dudes, hot pizza girls, tanning salons and horse-stable make-out sessions punctuate a summer in Baltimore.
After his television-celebrity dad’s death, 16-year-old Hercules Martino is sent from his Upper West Side home to Baltimore to spend the last two weeks of summer with his Uncle Anthony. Upon arrival, Hercules is handed a list of things he must accomplish during his stay, and despite his resistance, he somehow manages to stumble into each and every one of them. The one he deems most important finds him chasing a lost copy of Winnie-the-Pooh for a hot college girl and sets him on a trajectory to complete the other tasks. Although Hercules and Anthony have never hit it off, their hilarious “man speak” insult-based dialogue intimately suggests that a connection does exist between them. Told in short, near-poetic vignettes, the chapters of Proimos’ first teen novel are packed with plenty of small details and genuine moments of ridiculous humor. Often these chapters are too short and lack connective tissue, however, which results in confusing passages of time, odd jumps in plotting and, most often, a longing for more details. Still, readers will relish Hercules’ smart-alecky, slacker sense of humor and his dogged determination to get the girl.An all-too-brief madcap summer adventure of longing, lust, confusion and clarity. (Fiction. 12 & up)