cover image Extreme Elvin

Extreme Elvin

Chris Lynch. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028040-6

Elvin Bishop, the wisecracking, irrepressible narrator of Slot Machine, is back, and he is just as funny--and perhaps even more likable. Now in his first year at a Catholic boys' high school, the pudgy hero has one scatological misadventure after the next--his battle with hemorrhoids earns him the school nickname of the Velveteen Sphincter; he gets tricked into thinking he has caught a sexually transmitted disease from holding hands with a girl at his first dance; and his hip, widowed mother mistakenly thinks she has caught him masturbating. Some of these gags go too far, especially one subplot involving a pregnant basset hound whom Elvin and his mother have thought to be male during the month they've owned him. But as raunchy or stretched as the humor can get, Elvin himself grows a little more complex as the book progresses. The hormonal high jinks help dress up the book's essentially old-fashioned, tried-and-true theme, which has Elvin rejecting his status-conscious friend's advice to pursue a slim, sought-after beauty and choosing instead to date the plump girl he's attracted to. Witty and knowing, this novel will have readers hoping Lynch writes another Elvin Bishop story soon. Ages 10-up. (Mar.)