A Fly Named Alfred

Don Trembath, Author
Don Trembath, Author Orca Book Publishers $6.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-55143-083-6
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In this sequel to The Tuesday Cafe, Harper Winslow finds a niche for himself as an underground reporter for the school newspaper, writing extremely insulting observations of his teachers and his peers. His column, ""Fly on the Wall"" (printed under the pseudonym Alfred), is a big hit with all the students, except those who get roasted. In his public persona, however, the outwardly mild-mannered Harper endures ostracism and tormenting from bullies, especially Tommy Rowe, who coerces him into ""discovering"" and disclosing Alfred's identity. Planted smack in the middle of another fine mess, Harper turns to his kooky and unstable pal Billy for help. The boys' elaborate scheme to fool dim-witted Tommy leads to a string of unlikely predicaments, heavily cynical commentaries and an ironic conclusion. No segment of the high-school population is safe from ridicule in this parody: jocks, pseudo-intellectuals, artists and teachers all play the role of buffoon. Trembath does dig beneath the surface of some of his characters, but what is uncovered (e.g., Tommy's soft side) seems as manufactured as the author's message about teenage vulnerabilities. Ages 12-16. (July)
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