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5 Novels: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars / Slaves of Spiegel / The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death / The Last Guru / Young Adult Novel
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5 Novels: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars / Slaves of Spiegel / The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death / The Last Guru / Young Adult Novel

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4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  699 ratings  ·  61 reviews
5 Novels contains five classic novels by Daniel Pinkwater, who has been quietly, subversively producing books for the most intelligent and creative children and young people in America for more than twenty-five years. (Adults may know him as a frequent commentator on National Public Radio, essayist, book reviewer, and the author of The Afterlife Diet). Well over a million ...more
Paperback, 656 pages
Published September 30th 1997 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Lisa
Daniel Pinkwater writes in short, clear sentences. He is very funny. His books are full of references to Alfred Jarry, the Beats, and his own childhood. You don't have to get these references to enjoy his books, so it's fun to read them when you're in junior high. When you reread his books as an adult, though, you realize that Daniel Pinkwater is one of your favorite writers. And you wonder how you ended up writing this in second person, which is kind of gross and is also something Daniel Pinkwa ...more
Emily Mittelmark
It's uncommon for a Daniel Pinkwater fan to run into another fan by chance. We end up finding each other in unlikely situations, and having lived our lives feeling like we're the only ones to have had the good fortune to have these stories in our lives, we feel as though Pinkwater is writing the story of our meeting, and that we're reading our stories like the dreams he writes.
Gerald
The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death gives me direction when I falter.
amy e.
This book (or the novellas within) make me happy to be alive but a little sad I was not during the 70's/early eighties when these stories were written. When it was more "normal" for a pre-teen kid to ride a bus around the city by herself or wander into record stores and taco joints instead of being driven 'round strip malls in an SUV by one of her sheltering parental units. Daniel Pinkwater's protagonists are unrecognizably independent compared to today's over-protected kids. But his characters ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
I was going to write that Pinkwater is not your normal young adult author and then I got to thinking--what is your normal young adult author? Lewis Carroll had his thing for photographing young girls, C.S. Lewis was a bit of a hermit, Roald Dahl played with perversity (if you think his children fictions are dark, try some of his adult stuff, which I couldn't finish). The women might be sane, for I've never heard a nasty story about Madeline L'Engle, Diana Wynne Jones, or E. Nesbit (well, she was ...more
Joe Baptist
This is one of the books that all bookstores should be required to constantly stock. With the other Pinkwater collection also in print, I have hope for future generations of Americans!
Pinkwater is the master of finding the humor in the angst of teenage outcasts, and making even geeky kids (like me) feel good about themselves.
I'm sure you'll need several copies - for yourself and all your friends.
Mark
Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars is a great book about being young, smart and different. Think of giving it to any eccentric young adult you might know. Alan and his friend Leonard are smart, curious and goofy. Just like I want to be when I grow up. I re-read this over Christmas and will definitely read it again.
Greg
Contains one of the all-time best children's books ever written--Alan Mendelsohn. I tried to convince my friend in the film industry to adapt it for a movie. He didn't bite.
Mark
My kids and I read and re-read this book all the time. Same goes for the "4 Novels" book. Our copies of have become extremely dog-eared.
Dianna
i love daniel pinkwater. i want to live in his world.
Zan
Daniel Pinkwater is perhaps one of the greatest and most overlooked American writers of the 20th century. I read many of his books in grade school, and those that were available as audio books, I listened to over and over on family vacations more times than I can count. I have probably read and/or heard the Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death at least 30 times. I wasn't really into music as a kid, and audio books, especially Pinkwater's, made up much of the background noise of my young life.

T
...more
Robert Hudder
It's Pinkwater. These are 5 of his supposedly best novels chosen from an older back catalogue. That does his current novels a disservice. Young Adult is a fun fun fun read. The others are good too.

The cover art is the best piece except for the writing inside. There may be aliens and teenage Dadaists and old cities enveloped by new cities and irrelevant moral of the stories.

It's Pinkwater.
Malika
The first 3 stories of this 5 story book, were very peculiar. I love the author's writing style, it's very.... different. Which is why this book has one of my favorite male protagonists. I always find it to be quite interesting and mostly hilarious, hearing the male teenagers thoughts in a book. By the time I came to the very ending of the fourth story, I became bored with the book entirely. So I took a break, (for over a month -_-) and returned hoping to feel new about it. After half way readin ...more
Kara Kinley
I read Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars when I was in grade school and wanted to share it with a 9 year old. It still is funny, but a tad dated now. When I was a kid, I thought it was a fabulous read and it inspired a lifelong interest in biofeedback.
Nancy
I adore the wackiness of Daniel Pinkwater. Storytelling at it's most wonderful. Damn refreshing. Not for everyone; this is no Anne of Green Gables, though the heroes are wonderfully adept and independent. Good fun. Like a circus. A small, European circus.
Saul
An incredible compilation of books. Pinkwater proves, yet again, that he is a master storyteller for young adults. Each book enclosed is full of wacky characters and humor. No point going into detail here, I will comment on each individual book on this site. The only strange thing about this book is the YA novel tucked in at the end. It's clearly for an older audience, so I was unable to read it to my child. I suppose it's one way to publish a book. However, I believe parents would be better ser ...more
Marti
At the time that Susan handed this to me at her library book sale, I was looking for children's books for Karin. This volume for young adults comprises 648 pages, most of which are quite entertaining, even to a grandmother. I must admit that I found Young Adult Novels, the last one, to be not up to the quality of the other four. Daniel Pinkwater has an active and fertile imagination to come up with these characters and plots. In this past year I have tried an number of different genres, getting ...more
Sharon
When I was younger, I probably thought Daniel Pinkwater was subversive because he wrote a story about a boy from Mars and the boy actually ended up being from Mars...now that I am older, I think Daniel Pinkwater is subversive because he writes about the tedium and complacency of the high school system, the simple pleasures found in watching movies and reading illict material you're not supposed to, and the joy in being an outcast. Still, since I only really enjoyed three out of the five novels, ...more
Lori
Bought during the middle of a road trip when the reading material was already consumed--by then 11 year old son. What a classic group of stories!
Stephanie
I only read Alan Mehdelsohn, the Boy from Mars of the five short stories contained in this book. It was well written and a fast read.
Andrew
5 young adult books in one!

Alan Mendelsohn- 3.0~ seemed to take longer than it should have. Interesting and funny however.

Slaves of Spiegel- 3.5~ A story about a bizarre fast food competition. A hoot, but not amazing.

Snarkout Boys- 4.0~ already read this. Really great stuff.

Last Guru- 4.0~ Took it a bit, but turned out to be a great satire of fads and new age spirituality, which makes it dated, but still biting and funny.

Yound Adult Novel- 4.5~ My favorite Pinkwater work. Too crazy and absurd no
...more
Dave Peticolas

A collection of five Pinkwater novels:

+ Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars

+ Slaves of Spiegel

+ The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death

+ The Last Guru

+ Young Adult Novel

I had never read Pinkwater before -- it was a real treat. Most of the novels start out quite ordinarily and gradualy become stranger and funnier as they proceed. Great fun.

Aaron Jansen
This collection contains what is perhaps my favorite Daniel Pinkwater novel: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars. The first Snarkout Boys book is also brilliant. The other three do not quite reach those lofty heights, Young Adult Novel because it exists on some other plane entirely, and is, contrary to what the title would have you believe, quite unlike any young adult novel I've ever read.
Zab
Slaves of Spiegel and The Last Guru didn't do much for me, but Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars, is a nice lark.

Young Adult Novel is a comic masterpiece for the ages, or at least for the ages of 12-18. In between attempts to revive Dada, its teenaged protagonists keep writing vignettes about Kevin Shapiro, Boy Orphan, a funnier forerunner to _South Park_'s Kenny.
Lisle
Jun 03, 2008 Lisle rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisle by: Jenne
I read the Snarkout Boys first, and though it took me a while to get in the swing, I did enjoy it. Then I started Alan Mendelson. I really enjoyed the first part, but then it just sagged and I couldn't bring myself to finish it. So my rating is actually mixed. I think these would all have greater appeal to tweens and young teen boys. I am too old, or else these are too long.
Carey
Slaves of Spiegel and The Last Guru do nothing for me, and Avocado of Death is not the best Snarkout book out there (that would be Baconburg Horror), but 5 Novels is more than worth it for Alan Mendelsohn and Young Adult Novel, two books I dearly wish I'd read as an actual teenager. For weirdos and outcasts of all ages.
Stacey
This was recommended by Cory Doctorow in this back of Little Brother, a book he wrote. He said it changed his life when he read it. It's kind of a junior high or high school book but Abe really enjoyed it at 8. I'm sure he'll get much more out of it as he gets older, if he reads it again.

Five very thoughtful and highly interesting stories in this collection.
Sara
I first read The Snarkout Boys and the Avacado of Death when I was in the fifth grade, for a book report. It changed my life. I read it again when I was 25 years old. It changed my life again.

Pinkwater gets the outsider like none other, and it would seem he hated school as much as I did.

I'm still try to up my successful snarks number.
Annie
alan mendelsohn was probably my favorite, but i also truly enjoyed young adult novel. really, it seemed like something i would have done in high school, except there would have been both boys and girls involved, and we would have probably not been quite as committed to the dada aspect of it. none the less, an enjoyable romp through memoryland.
Joanne
If you love old movies, adventure, and mystery, you must read THE SNARKOUT BOYS AND THE AVOCADO OF DEATH. Spoiler: Best double bill at the Snark Theater: "Gidget Goes Hawaiian" and "Gaslight."

I once met a man who told me that ALAN MENDELSOHN, THE BOY FROM MARS changed his life. Yes, Daniel Pinkwater has that kind of power.
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Daniel Manus Pinkwater is an author of mostly children's books and is an occasional commentator on National Public Radio. He attended Bard College. Well-known books include Lizard Music, The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, Fat Men from Space, Borgel, and the picture book The Big Orange Splot. Pinkwater has also illustrated many of his books in the past, although for more recent works that ...more
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