Courtney's Reviews > King of the Screwups

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going
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Jan 11, 11

bookshelves: realistic-fiction, teen-fiction
Read in January, 2011

Liam is a screw-up. At least that's what his dad's been telling him since he was a kid and everything that's happened since seems to confirm it. After a particularly large screw-up, Liam gets sent to live with his uncle Pete, an openly-gay, cross-dressing (occasionally) member of a glam band. Which could not be any further from Liam's privileged upbringing. It's pretty weird at first, but Liam's a likable guy and settles right in. In fact, he starts to think he's a little too likable. He's fitting right back into the title his father had derisively dubbed him: Mr. Popularity. Liam decides he's going to do everything in his power to achieve unpopularity, be a good student and make his dad proud. Needless to say, things don't exactly go as planned. The real message here is one that hits close to home for many of us: how important is it to attempt to live up to someone else's expectations of us? Particularly if they're our parents? What does it do to us as we try to find our way in the world? This was a well-written, sad, funny, ironic and very real novel. Going has a knack for writing the teenaged perspective and has managed to work in a lot of subtle themes with characters that rarely, if ever, come across as stereotypes.
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