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The Gospel According to Larry (Gospel According to Larry #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,026 Ratings  ·  316 Reviews
This ALA Best Book for Young Adults introduces 17-year-old prodigy Josh Swensen, who only wants to make the world a better place. His wish comes true when his virtual alter ego, Larry, becomes a media sensation after posting sermons on anti-consumerism on his Web site.
Hardcover, 227 pages
Published May 1st 2003 by Perfection Learning (first published June 1st 2001)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 27, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: environmentally minded teens 13 and up
The kids in my teen book group loved this, it really captured their imaginations. Josh is a high school kid posting editorials under the guise of his alterego, Larry. Josh loves to hike and spend days outdoors alone. His favorite book is Walden. He rails against consumerism and our shallow infotainment culture, and finds himself a cult hit in his high school.

He teases his readers with clues to his identity. For example, he keeps his possessions at 75 items, so if he gets something new, he has t
Oct 21, 2008 Isaac rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think my life would have better if I had gone to bed at a normal hour. But I stayed up to read this instead (on the recommendation of my sister-in-law, who also recommended Twilight—strike two, she's out). I guess this book is supposed to facilitate discussion of important issues among teens or some other trite thing, but I found it insulting. Is this what we think The Youth can handle? Is this what we think of their intellectual capacity? Are they really that stupid?

It's not just that the "is
Initially I was amused by the layout of the book- the typewritten manuscript, the pictures and the wrap around story. Tashjian sells a convincing tale with these elements. However, I was rather dissapointed in the ending. Also I felt Josh’s rants were too unoriginal to fuel the amount of fame and hype that he received from his website.

Most teenagers would probably enjoy Josh’s story. Also the dark side of Internet fame is a modern reality. The book’s strongest message regards the repercussions
Sep 28, 2007 Mr.G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Josh Swensen starts a blog called "the Gospel According to Larry" in which he shares his thoughts about high school, relationships, commercials, and God. His website rapidly becomes the most popular at his school, in his city, and in the world. Bands like U2 participate in "Larryfest", politicians opine on it, cable news shows debate it, and the true identity of Larry becomes the obsession of people everywhere.
How will the world react when Josh's secret gets out. And more importantly, how will
Kristina Boni
Technology; the word of the century, created by different ideas and different intellectuals which changed how people today communicate. Like every great power, it has it bad sides, but can also do plenty of good, the human race couldn't live without it. Josh Swensen, a 17 year old, intelligent, outcast only wanted one goal in his life; to change the world and make it a better place. Josh decided to use his intelligence and the Internet to make a fake web page called, Larry. Larry posts inspirati ...more
Jun 24, 2015 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humor, amexperience
This book is hysterical and I think kids would get a kick out if, especially since the world revolves around the Internet. Larry creates a character which people stand up and listen to, create music fests for, and always want to listen to-- his message is going to change the way commercialism is seen. But, when he gets caught, does his stepfather feel like he's done the right thing?
Feb 22, 2015 Elora rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ik kan gewoon niet meer dan het eerste hoofdstuk aan. Dit meisje weet niet dat ik verliefd op haar ben en daar ben ik zo boos over, de jeugd van tegenwoordig drinkt alleen maar cola en moet eigenlijk literatuur lezen. Boo fucking hoo. Alles word uitgelegd, want de lezer is niet slim genoeg om te weten wie deze auteur uit 1800 is.
Gabrielle Prendergast
My only complaint about this very fast and fun read was the conceit of the author that this was "a true story", a published manuscript of Josh's hand typed autobiography that he handed to her in a grocery store. That added nothing to what was otherwise a very cleverly written tale.

Scarlett Sims
This book was... disappointing. I picked it up at a thrift store after hearing a classmate book-talk it. It sounded like a contemporary version of Valentine and Ender's brother... I forget his name... hang on, Wiki-ing... Peter... yes so it sounded sort of like a contemporary YA version of what they did.

For the first half of the book, I really didn't like it. It had a very blatant anti-consumerism message. I don't necessarily have a problem with the message, it was just very Anvilicious and I fi
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Taylor Rector for

Josh is a bored seventeen-year-old genius. That is just a recipe for disaster!

Just for something to do, he creates a website where he posts all of his rants about our celebrity-obsessed culture, anti-communism, and any other random thing that he thinks of. Josh names his site "The Gospel According To Larry" because that is the most unreligious name he could possibly think of. He's getting two or three hits a day, until some kids from his school find
Mar 03, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read several times
Emily Hermann
Jun 07, 2015 Emily Hermann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-1-12
Josh Swenson is your typical 17 year old kid; he has a crush on his best friend, is jealous of her crush on the dumb jock, and worries about his place in the high school social hierarchy. Oh, and he's a genius. Unwilling to spill his love to Beth, he pores his energy into a witty anti-consumerist website, "The Gospel According to Larry," where he rights mock sermons about the evils of consumerism and the advantage of living with as few possessions as possible. Much to his surprise, his site goes ...more
Dec 14, 2011 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ok so i finished this book and dare i say i actually liked it? wow i read it for school and i actually liked it!!! i think thats a first haha... well it was a wonderful book and really made me think about anti consumerism. do i really need all the clothes hanging in my closet? well im not saying im gonna cut my possessions down to 75 as Josh or Larry did but it opened my eyes and is making me think before buying! :) :D :)
Aug 13, 2014 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Maybe finding common ground with people we disagree with was the first step to a real revolution" --- Josh Swensen (main character).

Around 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this one! I loved the characters (though some of the teenagers didn't always talk like teenagers but hey the book takes place in 2001 so maybe it was) and loved the message on self discovery and acceptance of others and yourself! I, also, didn't mind the whole save the earth and those who inhabit it message either.
I especially en
Mawa Mahima
May 26, 2014 Mawa Mahima rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hipsters,
The Gospel According to Larry: That Englightened, Kinda Hip Feeling

I absolutely devoured this.. This is the second time round I read this book. In my first attempt I was still smarting from the hurt and stupidity I felt towards myself when I learnt that Mr Patel from Life of Pi wasn't an actual for-real-live-actual character. I felt even more betrayed when I learnt that Josh was a work of fiction (like why? Nooooooooo!). So I dumped the book, and left it for better, less hoodwinking pursuits.

Jul 26, 2014 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2014
This book does a great job of combining humor with a real message of anti-consumerism, while never losing track of the fact that the protagonist is a teenage boy who, though quirky, still thinks like a teenage boy. We listened to this entire book in one day on a long drive and everyone enjoyed it. I definitely laughed aloud many times. I really like the idea of trying to live with a limited number of items, and having to get rid if one of them every time you want to buy a new one. The author's i ...more
Jul 31, 2008 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The title teen is disgusted with the rampant materialism he sees in society and goes about critiquing it with a subversive and controversial website. I think 8th and 9th graders who embrace their uniqueness might identify with this one.
Oct 04, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a special way of writing; footnotes at the end of pages that explain a certain word or topic more clearly. As in getting the point across in a completely different way. I wish the ending was different though.
The website has set the world afire. "Larry" posts sermons commenting on anti-consumerism, commercialism, simple living, and making the world a better place. Now folks are beating the bushes trying to discover the real "Larry." Josh is the brains behind "Larry." He's a 17-year-old who wants to make a difference in the world and is awed by the reaction "Larry" is getting. But after a "Larryfest" concert and his subsequent outing by a reporter, Josh decides to dro ...more
The website has set the world afire. "Larry" posts sermons commenting on anti-consumerism, commercialism, simple living, and making the world a better place. Now folks are beating the bushes trying to discover the real "Larry." Josh is the brains behind "Larry." He's a 17-year-old who wants to make a difference in the world and is awed by the reaction "Larry" is getting. But after a "Larryfest" concert and his subsequent outing by a reporter, Josh decides to dro ...more
Mark Smiley
Maybe three and a half stars.

I liked this quick book. Josh, a high schooler, only has 75 possessions, a limit he has set for himself. He eschews materialism and the waste of the environment. He write an anonymous blog under the title "the gospel according to Larry" and prints essays of how he views things, of how the world could be better. The whole thing gets bigger as more people follow the blog and someone vows to oust him. There is a huge "larryfest" held, with U2 showing up for support. Jo
Oct 10, 2007 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
booktalking this tomorrow. it's a fun one.
Isabella Scott
Jul 28, 2015 Isabella Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Gospel According to Larry

I cannot find words to describe the resonance this has, and will leave on me. Every single word of this book is phrased in such a manner that I can feel my insides tense in pure personal excitement that some absurdly talented writer was able to put into words something I've felt since I can remember. My mother committed suicide when I was twelve years old (i am now fifteen) and our perhaps biggest bond was our shared passion of philosophy and equality and leaving a f
Oct 31, 2014 Samantha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
The gospel according to Larry is ook een boek wat in mijn tas zat met 5 young adult boeken. Ik las vrij goede recensies over dit boek, wat me zeer nieuwsgierig maakte. Toen ik in dit boek begon vielen me gelijk de voetnoten op. Heel toevallig, aangezien ik tot voor kort nog nooit boeken met voetnoten had gelezen, maar toevallig deze week 19 keer Katherine had gelezen van John Green waar eveneens voetnoten in stonden. Alleen vond ik bij 19 keer Katherine de voetnoten grappig en echt iets toevoege ...more
Dec 13, 2010 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fiction
Teens love this book. I completely understand why after almost 10 years this book still flies off the shelf at the school library. Tashjian captures the teen psyche and the way kids are trying to figure out their views and beliefs in life during this time with "rules for life" and "the best way to..." sort of thoughts that preoccupy teens.

Josh is a geeky over the top bright senior who creates an alter ego that helps him express his views on the world, his philosophy, and his beliefs about how pe
This book is an attack on consumerism and how shallow the world has become, it's about how most of us would die before we even ate a breakfast cereal without a label. Sadly it's true. How many times have you scoffed at something because it was obscure of foreign? Why do we choose labels instead of the unknown? We choose them because they make us feel safe, they make us feel like we fit in, like we're a part of our society, they make us feel important. We're glued to the media stuck on the latest ...more
Robin Cicchetti
Inspired by Thoreau's messages of simplicity and anti-materialism, Larry is an Internet sensation with millions of followers. His "gospel" rails against the cult of celebrity and our consumer culture, and it resonates with people around the world who form clubs and discussion groups to more fully explore Larry's ideas. There is a manic fascination as to the true identity of Larry with reporters sniffing out every clue in a race to "out" this spiritual guru of contemporary culture.

There is only o
Maggie V
Nov 07, 2009 Maggie V rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, boy-books
I didn't know anything about this book when I started reading it, but I'm glad I picked it up. At times it became a little preachy and redundant, but the message was good. I wish the author had spent time explaining why Betagold wants to unmask "Larry." Readers know about Josh's motivation and even some of Beth's actions are explained, but never this character who changes the entire plot.

One major problem I had with the audio is the "Author's note" and "Epilogue" narration. I think it was read b
Aug 24, 2012 Gemma rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The closest thing I can compare the Gospel According to Larry is the Dark Knight movies, which have been on my mind recently (can't help it; I'm geeking out again).

Josh is Bruce, and Larry is his Batman. No one really listens to him as Josh, but when he's Larry, he becomes a powerful force who stirs both a cult following and some haters.

Betagold is the Joker, constantly asking for Larry to be unmasked and threatening to blow up hospitals sign a petition if Larry doesn't reveal his true identity
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Janet Tashjian is a middle-grade and young adult novelist who’s been writing books for children for fifteen years. Her first novel Tru Confessions was made into a critically acclaimed Disney TV movie starring Clara Bryant and Shia LaBeouf. The Gospel According to Larry is a cult favorite and Fault Line is taught in many middle and high schools. Her novels My Life As a Book, My Life As a Stuntboy, ...more
More about Janet Tashjian...

Other Books in the Series

Gospel According to Larry (3 books)
  • Vote for Larry (Gospel According to Larry, #2)
  • Larry and the Meaning of Life (Gospel According to Larry, #3)

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