The Accidental Genius of Weasel High
The problem with Detorie's strip One Big Happy has long been a hard one to overcome: it's just not that funny. This issue is handily dealt with in his refreshingly vivid and approachable YA illustrated novel, which strives for only the occasional chuckle and is more interested in telling the story of one very driven 14-year-old. Larkin Pace and his classmates must keep a weekly "notebook blog," the results compiled in Detorie's book, where Larkin rags on his parents, obsesses over his best friend Brooke (who he'd now like as a girlfriend), binges on film quotes (his dad is a film studies professor), and divulges his complicated scheme for becoming a Hollywood impresario by age 16. Detorie's sketchy illustrations punctuate a story told with an easy, self-deprecating humor steeped in adolescent modernity without overdoing the slang and up-to-the-minute references. While many of Larkin's nemeses are standard issue (annoying sister, omnipresent bully), his voice manages to be good-natured and assured without the addition of arrogance. Ages 12–up. (Apr.) Board and concept books to nurture an early love of reading.