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by Seth Rudetsky

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 24th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-375-86915-0
Publisher: Random House

Chubby, Broadway-obsessed gay goofball Justin Goldblatt pines after swoony, blond, blue-eyed Chuck, the douchebag quarterback of the football team who’s dating the school’s hottest girl, Becky.

Opportunity rears its persuasive head when he learns that Becky’s dad despises Chuck, and the only option for the two of them to see each other is for Justin to pretend he’s Becky’s new boyfriend. Of course, not all goes as planned, and their carefully laid plans fall apart: Becky crushes on Justin, and Justin loses his best friend in the shuffle. Rudetsky’s first teen novel is full-on fluff. Readers will definitely identify with Justin's pursuit of his crush, but too often his character’s flakey-ness and silly disposition causes him to make stupid, thoughtless decisions that could cause him to lose both his readers’ respect and their interest. Stock characters, predictable plot devices and unmemorable dialogue abound. Broadway themes run amok, and theatrically inclined readers can expect plenty of references to Wicked, Phantom, Cats and more. The novel’s conclusion itself unfolds like a jukebox musical—predictably canned, with lots of high drama, public unmaskings and a showstopping musical number that will leave readers wondering why they had to read so long to get where they knew there were going in the first place.

Not much style, not much substance, but suitable for younger readers. (Romance. 12 & up)