cover image King Dork Approximately

King Dork Approximately

Frank Portman. Delacorte, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-73618-3

Eight years have passed since King Dork appeared, but no time has elapsed as this sequel begins. Tom Henderson resumes his narration where the previous book ended, with his recovery from assault by tuba, a battery that inadvertently resulted in the exposure of a child pornography ring at Hillmont High. The ensuing scandal forces the school to close; in dividing its students between the town’s other schools, Tom is split from bandmate and alphabetical-order buddy, Sam Hellerman. This gives Tom a chance to reinvent himself, but he’s the same sarcastic, girl-obsessed, wannabe rock guitarist he was during the first semester of his sophomore year. He does make some friends, including his first real girlfriend, Pammelah, and play in the pep band, which requires him to wear a “Badger Power” T-shirt, white pants, and an orange beret to school on game days. This book doesn’t have the mysteries that kept the pages turning in the original, but Tom’s irreverent voice and sharply observed, deeply funny insights about public education and the teen social order carry the story. Ages 14–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Dec.)