Dogbreath Victorious

Chad Henry, Author Holiday House $16.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8234-1458-1
Tim Threlfall, a walking high school disaster as well as lead guitar and vocals of an alternative Seattle rock band called DogBreath, sarcastically narrates this debut novel. Tim's insurance salesman father died, leaving Tim and his ""Affirmation Queen"" mother with rapidly mounting debts. To top it off, school counselor Mr. Thompson rocks Tim's body-pierced world when he bans Tim from performing until his grades improve; and his best friend Ziggy recruits geeky-looking Phoebe with blue plastic glasses for the ""Rad Band Contest @ Lewd Fingers' Dirt Club."" Some readers may enjoy Tim's caustic humor and the harsh way in which he judges adults, but the jaded tone distances readers from the seriousness of Tim's predicaments, reducing the loss of his father, his embarrassment by his mother and his rejection by his crush to comic fodder (not to mention his Zen teacher's potshot at Buddhism, reducing the ""sound of one hand clapping"" to a slap on the face). The identity of the Angry Housewives, who beat Tim's band in the contest's first round, proves transparent, as does Tim's eventual romantic switcheroo. Ages 12-up. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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