Fourteen-year-old Matthew Swanbeck takes on “The Man” in this humorous slice of high-school life.
The Man is “Authority. Cops, parents, teachers, bosses, old people. The Man is the system of control that keeps its fat thumb pressed down on your freakin’ head to make sure you don’t have too much fun,” according to Matt’s older friend Sully, “the oldest junior in the history of Franklin High School.” But this is no angry young man–versus–the establishment story; Matt’s simply a good-hearted high-school kid out to navigate the treacherous waters of coolness, which is difficult when you have no money, you’re in the marching band, your friends are all computer geeks and you’re just naturally the kind of kid who pays extra for recycled toilet paper when rolling a friend’s house. But Matt has a new girlfriend, takes her to homecoming and even starts up a new rock band, so all is not uncool. Nichols expertly captures Matt’s nerdy, quirky and frequently funny adolescent voice and embellishes the text with black-and-white cartoonish illustrations, lists, diagrams and handwritten letters, a satisfying one-two punch of story and illustration.
A light-hearted tale of a likable kid trying to be cool and survive high school at the same time. (Fiction. 11-14)