I’ve been looking forward to Josh Berk’s Guy Langman: Crime Scene Procrastinator for months. Not because I’m dying to read it. I already have. It’s because I’ve been dying for everyone else to read it. I read an advanced copy of it last October while my car was getting worked on, and I laughed so much and so hard that the receptionist gave me The Eye.
Read more excellent new books for teens in March.
I just reread it, and I’m happy to say that it stood up well to a second look. I’m going to try my best to actually talk about the book, rather than just treating you to a slew of quotes. But it’s going to be tough going, because it’s full of gems like:
I furrow my brow. He doesn’t look at me, so I narrate: “Guy furrows his brow.”
Due to the machinations of his best friend Anoop Chattopadhyay, high school junior Guy Langman joins Forensics Club. Little does he know, Forensics Club is about more than coming to terms with his father’s recent death or oogling the cute girls. No, the skills he learns from the annoyingly superhip Mr. Zant are about to be put to more practical use in solving a few mysteries: the identity of a Mysterious Bearded Man at his father’s funeral, a break-in at Guy’s house, stolen sunken treasure and possibly...(dun dun dunnnnnn!) murder.
Guy is kind of like a younger Shawn Spencer from Psych, minus the amazing observation skills: he’s obnoxious, superlazy, prone to sudden random outbursts, tends to pretend to be much less intelligent than he actually is*, makes a lot of terrible, terrible jokes and somehow is still immensely likable.
While Guy has the spotlight, the secondary characters—Anoop, the other Forensics Club kids, Gus’ mother, Hairston “Penis-Head” Danforth III, even Mr. Zant—are all three-dimensional, and all, in their own ways, both over-the-top and completely believable. That could be said of the entire book, actually. It’s both hilariously, ridiculously Out There, what with the stolen treasure and Bearded Stranger, but the interactions between the characters always work, and it’s also emotionally believable.
But more than anything else it’s funny. Yeah, it’s about friendship and family and grief, but really the reason I loved this book so much is that Guy’s narration made me laugh so hard that I snorted. A lot. In public. So on that note, I’ll let Guy himself play you out:
Now I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there as a general public-service announcement if any teachers happen to be reading this. If a guy (or Guy) in your high school class is acting weird about standing up for some reason, and is making excuses for not coming to the board or coming over to see your laptop or whatever, the reason is clear. He has a boner. Please do not make him get up. It’s cruel. Thank you. This has been a public-service announcement brought to you by Guy Langman, Inc.
*He and his friends get into an argument about Copernicus’ sex life in which the phrase “Polish sausage” gets thrown about. Dumb, sophomoric humor, yes, but they’re arguing about Copernicus.
Let's be honest. If she isn't writing Bookshelves of Doom or doing her librarian thing, Leila Roy is most likely being tragically unproductive due to the shiny lure of Pinterest.