cover image Burger Wuss

Burger Wuss

M. T. Anderson. Candlewick Press (MA), $16.99 (208pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0680-0

In a world where every teenager works at one fast food chain or another and likes it, Anthony just doesn't fit in. His first real girlfriend has dumped him for a meathead named Turner who works at O'Dermott's, so Anthony plots revenge. He gets a job at the restaurant and embarks on a complicated plot to pit the kids from Burger Queen against the kids from O'Dermott's--and thereby draw the BQ wrath down on company-man Turner's head. Like Anderson's Thirsty, this book is a burlesque of teenage angst and conformist culture; the vacuous foundation of the vicious rivalry between the two food chains is underscored by a caustic portrayal of Anthony's two best friends, giddy with their own puppy love. They call each other ""Ricky Licky"" and ""Jennster Junebug,"" have eyes for no one else, and then, after finally having intercourse, break up over a movie rental. Anarchist vagabond Shunt is Anthony's partner in his anti-conformity crimes: ""I'm Shunt,"" he says, on Anthony's first day at work. ""Welcome to corporate hell. Start screaming now."" Although the ending is a little sudden--and although Anthony's long delay in realizing that a girl can't be ""stolen"" makes him seem like a bit of a meathead himself--Anderson's witty tale of a lovelorn boy and his corporate antagonists is both a tasty read and a stinging satire. Ages 14-up. (Aug.)