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

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  2,618 ratings  ·  287 reviews
After creating a controversial and hugely popular website, teenager Josh Swensen becomes trapped inside his brilliant creation and must find a way to remain anonymous.I am lying on my bed doing my homework in Greek and Latin roots for Advanced English. 'Ped' for foot, 'homo' for man, 'nym' for name. I sit with the dictionary in front of me, coming up with as many words as ...more
240 pages
Published June 3rd 2004 by Puffin Books (first published June 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 27, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Isaac
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
...more
Jennie
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
...more
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
...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Taylor Rector for TeensReadToo.com

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
...more
Mr.G
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
...more
Alexa
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 :)
Monica
"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
...more
Alicia
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?
Mawa Mahima
May 26, 2014 Mawa Mahima rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.

I
...more
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.

Jay
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
Jen
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.
Angela
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.
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
...more
Jessica
booktalking this tomorrow. it's a fun one.
Samantha
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
Pam
Dec 13, 2010 Pam rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: fiction, ya
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
...more
Gorfo
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
...more
Maggie V
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
...more
Gemma
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
...more
Cassandra Barboza
The Gospel According to Larry was a book that I found in seventh grade and I constantly return to it, especially when I feel stressed from the constant consumerism that goes on all around me and when I feel like a hermit. It's a book that gives me a sense of people always being able to take back some control in their lives if they are willing to make the choice and the idea that we can't always prevent our secrets from blowing up in our faces. It was also the book that inspired me to read Thorea ...more
Eden
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kaylee~
I was VERY impressed with this book. It most definetely deserves more than just five stars. I'd give it a hundred, if that was an option. It meant a whole lot to me... but let the rant begin:

So... I don't know how to start it, so it might be totally off track. So what's with this betagold chick? Doesn't she HAVE a life? I mean, give me a f*cking break. Why would you set out to ruin someone's life for them? How inconsiderate. People are assholes, all they want is money. MONEY ISN'T IMPORTANT(ok,
...more
Kelley
Dredging the archives of my old YA blog--from back in the day when I was a YA para-librarian. Awesome!


Young adult fiction isn’t just for angsty teens. I just finished reading these two books, and I am impressed and inspired by the important messages these two books have for our society today.


If you like Adbusters or it rampant consumerism makes you want to puke, The Gospel According to Larry will seem as thought it’s written just for you—especially if you are (or once were) a geeky seventeen yea
...more
George
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elaina
The Gospel According to Larry is my favorite realistic fiction novel of all time. At the beginning, it seems like a regular book, but towards the end, you realize that it's so much more. The most moving part for me would be when Josh/Larry decides to commit pseudocide. From that point on in the book, it becomes a much more emotional book than expected. I think one of the best themes in this book is fame. When people don't know who Larry is, they celebrate kindness and non-commercialism. But as s ...more
Handan
Summary
Framed as a manuscript given to the author by a scruffy, secretive young man, this is the story of Larry, a blogger who calls out America's greed and corruptions in the everyday in "sermons" he posts. It is also the story of Josh, who (spoiler) happens to be Larry. Josh purposefully is not forward in real life, he can't even tell his best friend Beth how much he loves her, and is an inconspicuous as possible. He'll leave for days to get back to nature and be at peace (very Thoreau/Zen) an
...more
Emma
Sep 13, 2009 Emma rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jill
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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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...
My Life as a Book My Life as a Stuntboy Vote for Larry (Gospel According to Larry, #2) Fault Line Multiple Choice

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