The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy

Kate Hattemer. Knopf, $16.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-385-75378-4
In Hattemer's smart, provocative, and highly entertaining debut, a group of friends rage against the reality-TV machine that has descended on their prestigious Minnesota arts high school. To say that Hattemer perfectly spoofs competition-based reality shows isn't quite right—from the manipulative "frankenbiting" editing to the For Art's Sake judges' sendoff catchphrase to eliminated contestants ("THAT WASN'T ART!"), the details are almost too spot-on for parody. Narration comes from junior Ethan Andrezejczak, a decently talented visual artist whose devotion to a hamster named Baconnaise, chaotically loving relationship with his triplet younger sisters, and appreciation for literary forms and devices add depth and humor to a story that's already full of meaty material as it explores the creation and corruption of art. As Ethan and his quick-witted friends use poetry to campaign against For Art's Sake (and some breaking and entering to investigate whether the show is on the up and up), readers are treated to a sharply funny account of how people can fall short (and come through), and how art can make a difference. Ages 12–up. Agent: Uwe Stender, TriadaUS Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/23/2014
Release date: 04/01/2014
Library Binding - 323 pages - 978-0-385-75379-1
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-385-75381-4
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-385-75380-7
Prebound-Glued - 336 pages - 978-0-606-38462-9
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