FREAKED by J.T. Dutton


Age Range: 14 & up
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Burnout private-schooler Scotty Loveletter has two aims in life: getting high and getting lost in the trancey vibes of the Grateful Dead. His “freak” personality earns him some reputability with his classmates when he scores them drugs, but his scholastic pursuits, friendships and social life all run second to Jerry and the bong. Except for a couple of smirk-inducing subplots (his bombshell mom appearing in Playboy, a dead-goldfish incident), the main narrative thrust is Scotty’s determination to make it to a Dead concert on Long Island, a quest that involves a gun, lots of self-deprecation and a few drugged-out yelling matches with his roommate—all in all, little meat for teen readers to sink their teeth into. The directionless plot is further weakened by Dutton’s persistence in evoking The Catcher in the Rye a little too loudly. The parallels are blaringly obvious and weaken her status as an up-and-coming teen novelist. To her credit, she can spin a well-written sentence or two, but Scotty’s slow-paced story and the Grateful Dead element limit the work’s appeal to a very niche audience, if anyone. Half-baked. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-137079-3
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: HarperTeen
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009