Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't be such a square

This is one I read awhile back but hadn't gotten around to blogging about until now. I picked this up and really enjoyed it. I know that they made a movie of it recently, but I don't really have an interest in seeing it.

The basic plot is that on graduation day, Dennis Hooverman, during his high school graduation, tells the whole school that he's been in love with Beth Cooper. He also makes some accusations about some of the other members of the student body, including outing his best friend Rich. Even though Dennis is your typical "nerd" and Beth, of course, is a cheerleader, and the two of them have never hung out, they spend the rest of the night bopping around suburban Illinois together. Also, they're trying to avoid Beth's drugged-up army ex. Along the way Dennis realized that the Beth Cooper he's built up in his head isn't really real, and gets to know the actual girl in front of him.

Parts of this book were a little much for me, going just over the top. The drugged up ex and his army buddies and the super slutty friend of Beth's, Treecee, got on my nerves sometimes. Dennis and Rich get the crap kicked them so much yet don't go to the hospital. A car drives into and back out of a wall at a party.

One thing I really enjoyed was that I grew up where this book is set. Some of my cousins went to Harper Community College (Beth's probable choice) and I know my way around the streets they were careening down. I had a very, very clear picture of where this book took place.

Another thing I enjoyed was that Doyle starts off each chapter with some quote from popular culture revolving around teen drama. I didn't recognize all of them, but it made me smile to see Lloyd Dobler and Lorraine Baines quoted.

Some of the background characters were interesting. The drug dealer who deals exclusively in prescription drugs (Claritin-D, Adderall) was pretty much on the money for someone you'd actually meet in a suburban high school. Cammy, on of Beth's homegirls, was snarky and bitchy, so you know I loved her. My favorite though was the d.j. at the big party they all go to, Zooey Bananafish. Actually there was not too much to her character, but that name is such a shout-out to Salinger that I can't help but like her.

I enjoyed this book. The writing is easy and youthful, like a high-schooler is telling you the story. The ending isn't what you'd expect from a typical high school graduation piece, and it seems like Doyle plans on continuing the story.


"There's another Beth Cooper out there," she told him. "One just for you. The world is full of Beth Coopers." page 21

"She wore her party face, not unlike her real face, but with the hue and contrast dialed up...She still smelled like Beth Cooper, only more so." page 55

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