This engrossing debut novel recounts the exploits of high school senior Jesse Alderman, who runs a lucrative business making things happen: “brokering term papers, getting juvenile delinquents kicked out of school, and delivering party favors for keggers.” A possible musical prodigy who abandoned the guitar after his mother’s suicide, Jesse has more intellectual energy than he knows what to do with, and he keeps himself busy to avoid thinking. When rich football star and “all-around douche” Ken hires him as matchmaker, Jesse becomes a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac, enamored of sweet Bridget even as he’s employed to manipulate her to fall for a creep. Jesse’s actions belie his affected indifference to personal relationships, as he softens toward people he ostensibly “uses”: elderly Mr. Dunkelman, who Jesse pretends is his grandfather to get closer to Bridget; Digger, his weed supplier; Joey, his lesbian partner-in-crime; Bridget’s disabled brother, Pete—just some of Spears’s well-developed, socioeconomically, and ethnically diverse supporting characters. Sharp dialogue, edgy humor, and an unlikely hero make this page-turner a winner. Ages 14–up. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/28/2014 Release date: 09/16/2014 Genre: Children's
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