GOOFBANG VALUE DAZE by Julian F. Thompson


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A sane, if slightly confused, teen-ager outfaces a group of adult ideologues--in a now funny, now bittersweet novel. ""All the world's high school,"" says Gabe Podesta to his stunningly beautiful girlfriend Dori Fabb--and, indeed, at Dustin High he encounters as many assaults on his courage, intellect, and values, and as wide a variety of peers and adults--from sensible to biscuit-brained--as the outside world might offer. All this flavors a notably quirky plot: the town of Dustin has built a giant dome to keep the weather out, and some people have been affected strangely. Dori's father is convinced that the whole town is on the road to totalitarianism; a newly elected triumvirate of school directors, in the name of ""values"" and ""order,"" enact harshly repressive rules of behavior, as well as surreptitiously tack drug tests onto a supposedly confidential schoolwide test for AIDS. Still, Gabe's mother suggests that the right-wingers have been getting more press attention than real support. Meanwhile, Thompson energetically slices into the ""ends justify means"" mentality; and the directors are finally discredited, thanks largely to Gabe and his gleefully liberal parents. However, this triumph is tempered by violence and tragedy: Gabe is beaten by overzealous National Guardsmen, and later Dori's father, trying to ""save"" Dustin, falls from the dome and is killed. As in Band of Angels, Thompson offers a lot of talk--and action--on traditional YA topics (rights, freedom, responsibility). An issue-oriented story, then, thought-provoking if not always believable.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1989
Page count: 277pp
Publisher: Scholastic