King of the Screwups

King of the Screwups by K L Going.

Liam messes up everything that he touches, especially in his father’s eyes.  When screws up again, Liam is kicked out of the house.  His mother engineers it so that Liam is sent to live with his gay, glam-rocker uncle in a trailer in the middle of nowhere.  This is Liam’s chance to be different, be what his father wants, and not mess up.  But things aren’t that easy.  Liam tries to be unpopular, but can’t seem to manage it.  He tries to befriend the next-door neighbor but she dislikes him at first glance.  Though he tries to be a great student, he continues to get into all sorts of trouble at school: being late, not finishing assignments, and never bringing his materials to class.  What can a handsome, well-dressed teen do to make himself something he’s not!

Going has created a teen novel that takes stereotypes and turns them on their heads.  Here we have a straight kid with an eye for fashion, a popular kid who wants to be unpopular.  There is a delight to reading this novel.  One never knows what is going to turn out to be a screwup and what will be an amazing success.  That unexpected nature combines perfectly with Liam’s voice, creating a novel that is impossible to put down.  The strength of Liam’s characterization is central to this book, avoiding anything that could be stereotypical and instead being about an individual living in a world of unique people. 

A great teen novel, this book deserves to be widely read and applauded and shared with friends.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.