cover image Regular Guy

Regular Guy

Sarah Weeks. HarperCollins, $14.95 (128pp) ISBN 978-0-06-028367-4

This first novel by the author of Crocodile Smile and Follow the Moon brims with clich s and hoary plot turns. The narrator, 11-year-old Guy Strang, couldn't be more unlike his flamboyant mother and geeky dad, who constantly embarrass him. Naturally, he concludes that he must have been switched at birth, and when he discovers that Bob-o Smith, ""the weirdest, craziest, most unappealing character in the whole class,"" shares his birthday and was born at the same hospital, the case seems airtight. Guy and the credulous Bob-o swap homes for a weekend on the pretext of a school project. The hitch arises when Bob-o is far happier with the new arrangement than Guy, who is bored with the stultifyingly bland Smiths. The novel misses no chances for middle-grade yucks--from Bob-o's ceaseless nose picking to Mr. Strang's habit of inhaling oysters through his nostrils and expelling them from his mouth--and the climactic showdown is a virtual chain reaction of buffoonery. Ages 8-12. (June)