cover image Appetite for Detention

Appetite for Detention

Sloane Tanen, , photos by Stefan Hagen. . Bloomsbury, $14.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-59990-075-9

Slotting in between Tanen's adult titles (Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same ) and her concept books (C Is for Coco ), this gift-size collection of cleverly staged scenes follows a flock of her trademark fuzzy toy chicks during the awkward years—those preceding hen- and rooster-hood. Interweaving storylines star seven chicks from various social circles, from it girl Caitlin (the only pink chick in school) to friendless Edgar, who “wasn't a skater, a punk, a jock, a geek, or a nerd. He was just depressed, and he hadn't found that clique yet”; the author skewers each archetype with equal-opportunity ruthlessness. As standalones, many of Tanen's vignettes are viciously funny and locker-ready, such as showing queen-bee-wannabe Marissa passed out in front of a boutique, her Gucci-esque purse and ever-present diet soda fallen into the gutter (“Was it nerves about going back to school, her strict 250-calorie-a-day diet, or toxic shock from the tampon she'd finally figured out how to use?”). Tanen's unsentimental portraits will find favor with teens who rely on a wicked sense of humor to endure school, as well as older readers who remember those days well—if not fondly. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)