Monday, December 20, 2010

I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want To Be Your Class President


Anyone remember middle school? Remember the politics of popularity that dominated your every waking moment? Remember how you could never peg your jeans as good as Sarah Brown could and you couldn't get your bangs to curl like Libby could? (Okay, maybe that was just me.)

Oliver Watson sure has the middle school hierarchy figured out, but oddly he has no desire to be the most popular boy in school.  It doesn't matter because he's actually the third richest person on earth (he made a good investment early on...really, really early on).  So even though everyone thinks he's a total moron he really has a network of body guards and operatives to wreak havoc upon anyone who dares insult him or to secretly record anyone he wants dirt on.  Oliver even has a full-time public face to run all of his businesses (a recovering alcoholic no less).

Oliver is content to keep up his fa├žade until the elections for class president come up.  When someone nominates him as a joke and he relates the story to his parents at dinner that evening, he realizes this is the way to win his father's approval...er, I mean, prove to his father that he isn't a pathetic loser.  So Oliver goes about trying to win the election in any way possible.

Author Josh Lieb, who is also a writer for Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, writes exactly as I expected him to: with biting humor and a dash of crass.  Just what every middle schooler would salivate over, right?  The book is billed as YA, but only the wittiest teenagers will be able to laugh at this.  Yes, it is an incredibly accurate portrayal of how middle school feels but most high schoolers aren't much better.  It's possible I should have read the book with a willing suspension of disbelief but I think Lieb actually wanted the story to be so far-fetched that it's obvious that Oliver has created this little dream world where he is a billionaire and not a loser, which is actually a better gimmick.

Is it a "must-read?"  Eh.  Will you regret reading it?  Probably not.  Hands down though, the best quote from the book: "BUREAUCRAT (n): Someone who sits behind a desk and tells you that you can't do something."  (p.86)

Note: This book was read for possible inclusion on the 2011/2012 YARP list.
And I don't know why the font is smaller...blogger seems to be having some issues.  Maybe it needs a tissue.

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