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by Sean Beaudoin

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-316-01415-X
Publisher: Little, Brown

A self-absorbed underachiever drifts through typical teen issues before arriving at a pat resolution. Stan Smith (17), hoped his IQ of 165 would propel him toward greatness, or at least move him away from his embarrassing parents. Stuck working in the small-town video store, he distracts himself by lusting after Ellen Rigby and writing film treatments, while Chad Tilford’s specter periodically attacks Stan’s bike. When the video store is vandalized, suspicion falls on Stan and he finally addresses the malaise of his life. Interestingly, the Salinger-inspired internal musings are most effective and funny when Stan is staged with other characters. Outlandish and eccentric, Stan’s caricatures of parents contribute little to the story, but do increase the pace. The school-bully thread borders on nonsensical—only addressed when the plot slows or the author vacillates between writing either a coming-of-age or a suspense novel. Beaudoin’s annotated chapter and film titles are creative enough, but the derivative lists lack the same humor. Vivid characters and bursts of genuine humor notwithstanding, an uneventful storyline prevents this first novel from gaining any real traction. (Fiction. YA)