A. B. Hollingsworth, Author . Norton $14.95 (389p) ISBN 978-0-393-32421-1

A bright-eyed, all-American teenager leaves his Oklahoma town in 1967 to start college at the state university in this perky sequel to Flatbellies . Chipper DeHart and best friend, Peachy, pledge the Sig Zeta fraternity, while devoted sweetheart Amy and her roommates pledge the sister sorority. Against the backdrop of political and social upheaval, the story spans the gang's eight semesters, mostly through the lens of Greek life (one wonders if they attend class at all). Colorful frat pranks and roommate drama certainly entertain, though non–Greek enthusiasts will have trouble mustering passion for the minutiae of frat life. Attempts to draw parallels between the experience of American troops in Vietnam and the fraternity brotherhood flounder, as do efforts to evoke the counterculture, in the persons of mysterious Smokey Ray and free spirit Audora. Chipper is affected by the changing times, but maintains his staunch conservatism, rejecting drugs and premarital sex and embracing Christianity. The novel culminates in the all-important "Fraternity of the Year" contest, but as activity points rack up and the army draft looms, reader interest wanes. Smooth prose and occasional wit distinguish this otherwise mediocre volume with cartoonish characters and a predictable plot. (Oct.)

Forecast: This should appeal most to heartland readers, as the author tour itinerary (Oklahoma City; Wichita, Kans; Kansas City, Mo.; Dallas) suggests. The novel was originally published in hardcover in 2003 by Clock Tower Press.

Reviewed on: 09/27/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-0-393-24354-3
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