Terri's Reviews > King of the Screwups

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going
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Nov 30, 09

Read in November, 2009

K.L Going, author of the award-winning "Fat Kid Rules the World" and "Saint Iggy," is one of my favorite Young Adult authors. She again nails the characterization of the quirky angst-ridden teenage boy through Liam Geller, the main character in "King of the Screwups: A Novel." When Liam is caught drunk and in a compromising position with a girl in his father's office, his father kicks him out of the house. His mother arranges for him to live with his cross-dressing, glam rocking, D.J.ing "auuuncle" Pete. In Pete and his friends Liam finds an atypical family and, for the first time in his life, unconditional acceptance and love.

Going teaches her intended audience many important lessons: just being yourself is good enough; stereotypes don't hold up if you look closely enough; the only person who can change your situation is you; a family can be comprised of atypical individuals; own your mistakes; jealousy will be your undoing; love can be found in the most unexpected places; learn to let go of the past and bitterness - and forgive; "success" is not about money and beauty...and so much more. The multi-layered plot and multi-faceted characters bring these important lessons to the forefront. What I especially love here is Going's treatment of issues of gender and sexuality. You can love fashion, be good at it, and NOT be gay. You can be gay and do "manly" work. You can be gay and a good parent, and be straight and suck at parenting. And on and on. I love the fact that more and more books are being published for teens that deal with these issues. There is a need for these books, both in terms of the mirrors and the windows that they provide.

This is a mature read in that there are sexual situations (though they are not graphic or gratuitous), underage drinking and smoking, and language. I highly recommend this book for all libraries that serve teens!

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Bridget Okay! You've convinced me to read it!


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