HOW I PAID FOR COLLEGE

Marc Acito, Author . Doubleday $21.95 (278p) ISBN 978-0-7679-1841-1

Portland humor columnist Acito debuts with dazzling comic panache in this story of a teenage would-be swindler and budding drama queen. Edward Zanni is dying to escape boring Wallingford, N.J., for the hallowed halls of Juilliard, and he's got a pretty good chance at it. It's summer, and he's palling around with his fellow Play People, who include his gorgeous girlfriend, Kelly, and his hot jock pal, Doug, and dreaming of stardom. The fly in the ointment is Zanni's money-obsessed father, Al, who pulls the financial plug on Edward's Juilliard dream after marrying a trophy babe, a beautiful, icy Teutonic model named Dagmar. Edward counters dad's penny-pinching by moving in with Kelly's family to establish financial independence for a scholarship, but bombs at several minimum-wage jobs. How will he pay for college now that his audition—really a public mental breakdown—got him in? His devious buddy, Nathan, concocts a plan to steal from gold-digging Dagmar, who's been siphoning Al's cash into a secret account. Edward and pals set up a fake nonprofit designed to award a Juilliard scholarship to someone born in Hoboken (Edward)—but there's a problem. Acito nails his scenes one after another, from Edward's shifting (but always enthusiastic) sexuality to the silly messes he gets himself into. The result is a thumbs-up winner from a storyteller whose future looks as bright as that of his young hero. Agent, Edward Hibbert. (Sept.)

Forecast: Acito's playful, nuanced treatment of sexual exploration and lively plot should make this an appealing choice for older YA readers as well as adults.

Reviewed on: 09/06/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4193-0738-6
Paperback - 276 pages - 978-0-7679-1854-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-4193-0740-9
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 264 pages - 978-0-7679-1960-9
Compact Disc - 10 pages - 978-1-4193-0244-2
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