How to Get Suspended and Influence People

Adam Selzer, Author . Delacorte $15.99 (183p) ISBN 978-0-385-73369-4

Wisecracking Leon Harris narrates Selzer's debut novel with heavy doses of sarcasm, smart aleck wit and adolescent frustration. Now an eighth grader, Leon participates in an advanced studies activity along with several of his equally intelligent, socially outcast friends. For their first assignment, each advanced student must film an educational health or safety "advisory video" to be shown to the younger middle-school students. Leon signs up for the sex-ed video and decides to deviate from boring anatomical line drawings and cheesy cartoons in favor of a surreal, avant-garde video inspired by Fellini (Leon's film is entitled La Dolce Pubert ) and Salvador Dalí. He features a montage of classical nudes "with close-ups on the good parts" and frank rhyming narration that comes off as quite comical ("We stood against adulthood's door,/ trying to comprehend, and hoping to score"). But the moralistic teacher who heads the gifted program finds Leon's video "inappropriate" for the student body, and her interference results in Leon's suspension (which naturally sends students' interest in the video skyrocketing). Ultimately Leon achieves victory, as students and faculty alike rally behind him. Readers with a similarly unconventional bent may well empathize with Leon's attitude toward school, his budding relationships and the adults who seemingly don't understand him. Ages 12-up. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 02/26/2007
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 183 pages - 978-0-385-90384-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 183 pages - 978-0-440-42160-3
Open Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-375-89214-1
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