LOSERVILLE by Peter Johnson


Age Range: 14 & up


Lucas and his crew—eccentric Nate, hotheaded Derek and twins Phoebe and Coco—are typical teenagers, engaging in low-grade mischief and experimenting with drugs and rebellion. All have issues with their parents, covering the entire spectrum of adolescent/parental conflict. But when Derek’s born-again zealot of a stepmother enters him in a reality-TV show called Loserville, things go horribly wrong. Hosted by the unsettlingly named armchair-psychiatrist Jesus, the show slants the crew’s reality and condenses it into a TV-ready, drama-soaked cry for teen attention. Staccato chapters punctuate the quick, frenetic flow of movement in this odd novella, resulting in anecdotal chapters that at times lack cohesion. Lucas has no qualms about ranting, yet is too stunted to actually do anything besides vocalize. Johnson creates a seemingly unfinished sketch, with too much attention to the mundane (is it entirely integral to the story to add a three-page description of the gang watching Jeopardy?), creating a tenuous bond for even the most dedicated reader. An interesting enough premise, but overall oddly constructed with little new to offer. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59078-581-2
Page count: 152pp
Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2009


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