Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wise Young Fool” as Want to Read:
Wise Young Fool
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wise Young Fool

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  360 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Teen rocker Ritchie Sudden is pretty sure his life has just jumped the shark. Except he hates being called a teen, his band doesn't play rock, and "jumping the shark" is yet another dumb cliché. Part of Ritchie wants to drop everything and walk away. Especially the part that's serving ninety days in a juvenile detention center.

Telling the story of the year leading up to h
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

3.5 Stars

Richie Sudden has some time to reflect on his life. Ninety days, to be exact. That’s how long he’s stuck in juvie – pondering his existence and what got him to his breaking point. The bad things like a dead sister, a dad who split and started a new family a nanosecond after the death, and his mom’s new girlfriend. The good things like his best friend, the girl he fantasizes about and the battle of the bands competition he comp
amy boese
Jul 30, 2013 amy boese rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2013
Sean Beaudoin has written yet another book where his excellent writing style and consistently unique voice add a layer of awesome to his already excellent storytelling.

I love the way he puts his plot together with just the right mix of humor, mystery and angst. What can I say- he rocks it, hard. All the music references and band allusions are 3-minute icing on the cake.
Aaron Dietz
Sep 11, 2013 Aaron Dietz rated it it was amazing
Beaudoin pokes so much fun at teen rocker-wanna-be's that I fear this may not actually work for teen rocker-wanna-be's--it's like holding up a mirror for the Gorgon to take a look. On the other hand, I got sucked in completely and thoroughly enjoyed it. Beaudoin always does great back matter for books but this book was in a way completely back matter--a collected manuscript found by a fictitious publisher (probably fictitious anyway)--this is Pale Fire but without the boring poem. Beaudoin's tas ...more
Jan 17, 2016 Rebecca rated it really liked it
Great novel for teens who are just looking for a story, no vampires, no ghost, no werewolves. Just a novel about a boy, his band, and a Juvenal detention facility. But really just a good story for those who need a novel that is grounded in real life. ***Must appreciate music to appreciate this novel. There is some sexual content in this novel.
Jan 02, 2014 Anne rated it it was amazing
A while back the author published a zine called ZAPRUDER headSNAP. According to his history of the venture, it was meant in part to put "a literary edge to the stick it laid across the forehead of pop culture." Which is what this novel does, both with a master thwapper's verve and a bearishly loving hand. Because bears do mean well when they swat you upside the head. Really. They're just trying to knock some sense into your addled human wits.

I've read WISE YOUNG FOOL twice already, the second ti
Liza Wiemer
If you could take PAIN and ANGER and RESENTMENT and bottle them up and then spill them into a novel you'd get WISE YOUNG FOOL.

This novel opens with a plea to readers to help the editor find the author of this story. The manuscript landed on the editor's desk three years ago. After a futile search, she couldn't find its owner and so decided to publish it anyway. This opening certainly caught my attention. (Of course, we know who the author is, Sean Beaudoin, so suspend reality.)

His story goes ba
Henry Cherry
Aug 06, 2013 Henry Cherry rated it it was amazing
I don't read a lot of contemporary fiction. But this came across the transom and it resonated with the sixteen year old in me. That's not to say it's a young book. It isn't. There's a depth to the flow of this story, the way people pop up and reduce in roles is as natural as going through life. The mother moves some heavy baggage along the way and it does it without a need to become shameless or losing its internal clockwork and structure. These aren't people you want to meet, they're people you ...more
Dec 22, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it
Ritchie Sudden is an artist. He plays guitar and writes great lyrics. His best friend, Elliot, plays bass and they are determined to form a band, find a drummer, find a singer, write some songs and compete in a contest that will give them a shot at opening for a well-known band and compete on a reality show.

Ritchie’s gone through some rough times. His sister was killed in an accident by a drunk driver, and immediately afterwards his dad split and remarried. His mom now has a girlfriend and want
Mar 02, 2015 Melissa rated it it was ok
Wanna-be-Rocker, Richie Sudden has some time on his hands. Ninety days, to be exact. That’s how long he’s stuck in juvie. “…many East Coast criminal justice systems offer a ninety-day ‘observational detention’ program for first-time juvenile offenders. Apparently, it is common practice for offenders in this program to keep a journal, which is used as a factor in determining whether a release date will be granted or further incarceration is appropriate.”
Using the journal, Richie tells the story
Diane Ferbrache
Richie Sudden, rockstar’s son and singer/songwriter/guitar player, is serving 90 days locked up in juvenile detention. Part of his sentence involves meeting with counselors and writing in a daily journal. This book is his journal chronicling his time in Juvie, his time with his band, his friends (male & female), and the events that led to his arrest.
Starting with something completely different – a “letter from the publisher” explaining that the journal was found and that they would love to
Henry Zeh-cross
Jun 10, 2014 Henry Zeh-cross rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read
This book is great! Its about a boy named Ritchie Sudden who wants to be popular and cool. His idea of being cool is hanging with a bunch of his friends getting drunk and smoking marijuana. He wants to get with this girl, but she tells him no because of this. She like kids who are involved in the outside world. Ritchie is in a band, and they decide to go to a rock concert and preform for $10,000. They get all the forms for the concert and come to find out that they are missing five components to ...more
Dec 11, 2012 Imillar rated it it was amazing
Loved this, in part because our hero Richie is so consistently and obnoxiously hilarious. He's smart, self-aware, and fucked up, and that combination makes for some of the funniest Y.A. I've read in a long time. Don't get me wrong, there are some seriously challenging issues in here - death of a sibling, parents' divorce, the mostly unacknowledged but definitely alive and well American version of the class system - being some of them. A nice antidote to educational political correctness in some ...more
Richard Cox
May 21, 2014 Richard Cox rated it it was amazing
It takes a wise author with a keen eye for details and a great ear for dialogue to write a book that so well captures the high school experience. Beaudoin's prose crackles on every page, and I found myself laughing out loud and stopping often to read passages to my wife. Like this one:

"Someone will be like, Bear II is so over, and then someone else will discover a big rock in a field and start calling it "the Pigeon Beak" or some s**t and then it'll be, Y'all gonna be at the Beak's on Friday? li
I enjoyed this one, and laughed out loud a couple of times while reading it, but I never quite got hooked somehow, or really felt anything for any of the characters. It took me a long time to work my way through it, and I kind of expected more of a payoff at the end, but I loved El Hella and Loop! I'd give other books of Beaudoin's a try though.
Rachel Gottlieb-Llanos
Dec 03, 2015 Rachel Gottlieb-Llanos rated it liked it
Shelves: yal
I like the format of this book overall. It starts of somewhat strangely with a letter from the editor explaining that the manuscript (which has turned into the book) was dropped off at their offices with no explanation. This point returns at the end and feels like an unnecessary element. What I like about the format, however, is that the stories are told from alternating perspectives: first person accounts of his life before being sent to a juvenile detention center and excerpts from the protago ...more
Nov 24, 2014 Bill rated it really liked it
I liked, but didn't love, this book. Maybe it's just the mere byproduct of the fact that I've read more than my share of YA "teenager in band lusting after girl but torn because he loves the band, and another girl loves him but he's either oblivious or not interested" books, but this one really didn't bring that much new to the table.

I enjoyed the shifting perspective while still keeping it with the same narrator, that was a well-managed way to balance the story, which in turn made things a lit
Nov 03, 2015 Kathryn rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I thought it was clever and funny. The way the book is set up as a journal with the inclusion of song lyrics and other asides that make sense in a journal of a teenager all work. The story is told in two times, the present, with the main character in juvie, and the past, telling the story leading up to juvie. I found Ritchie Sudden, the protagonist, to be the kind of teenager that an adult wants his or her kid to be reading about. He is smart, insightful, sarcastic, and doesn' ...more
Kevin Emerson
May 10, 2013 Kevin Emerson rated it it was amazing
Sean Beaudoin was born with a flying-v clutched in his chubby fingers. Is there any doubt that this book is going to rock? Hell no.
Tracy Gold
Mar 27, 2015 Tracy Gold rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Wise Young Fool" had an intriguing narrative structure. Readers bounced back and forth between Ritchie's experience in Juvie and the events in his life that led up to his incarceration. The interweaving narratives added tension to each narrative, making what would perhaps otherwise be a well-rendered, amusing tale of a teen trying to get the girl and build a band to win a Rock and Roll showdown into a high-stakes page-turner, where, at times, readers feared for Ritchie's life as he struggled to ...more
Christine Bongers
Smart, funny and irresistibly subversive. Five stars for making hardcore, high school and juvie hall this beguiling. Loved it.
Jan 03, 2016 Clare rated it liked it
Filled to the brim with sharp, witty dialogue... but I couldn't help but think throughout the entire novel, NO ONE (especially not teenagers) talks like this. It's a pretty long book, at over 400 pages, but it's a nice quick read because most of the paragraphs only consist of a couple sentences. The narrator's a total dick, but I guess that's to be expected of an eighteen-year-old wannabe-hardcore-rocker protagonist. The story itself is fast-paced and keeps you guessing. Overall, it's a decent, ...more
P.A. Pursley
Sep 18, 2015 P.A. Pursley rated it liked it
Shelves: good-books
Another purchase from TTBF 2013. It sounded good on the flap and I was feeling a little rebellious so I purchased it. At page 68 (I checked) I desperately wanted to put it down. The wise cracking young punk that is the protagonist got on my nerves so badly it made me want to reach through the book and give him a piece of my mind. Thankfully, I didn't put the book down. I did, however, find myself laughing and realizing we have all been the wise cracking young punk at some point in our lives. Fee ...more
It's nice to see a YA novel written with an authentically male voice, and considering the dearth of YA options targeted to boys (other than sci fi and fantasy, of course), this is a pretty good story. With that said, however, I still see it having very limited appeal.

The book covers the story of Ritchie Sudden, a wise ass with a chip on his shoulder due to the death of his older sister, his dad's new family, and his mom's live-in girlfriend. The story is told alternating between flashbacks and
i adore WESLEY PAYNE and INFECTS like none other and thought i would find FOOL equally mind-blowing. as it was, it wasn't.

i feel like three stars is a little harsh because most of my points of contention are with my own reception of the story, and not the story itself. the 'reveal' was a bit underwhelming i feel, especially in the shadow of all that build up. but oh well.

sean is on point again with that ripping wit and quick snark i love so well. his turn of phrase never fails to entice and su
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

"I mean, is it even possible to "improve", or do we all just learn strategies to hide our ugliness better? Like, did your boy Freud finally come to understand himself, standing on the precipice at the bitter end, or did he jump like everyone else?"

This is my second raving review about a contemporary book in less than a month. What's going on?

If you like characters who eat and shit nothing but rainbows, pass on this one. If you like bitter and unreliable but likeable
Punk Farie
May 12, 2014 Punk Farie rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcycling
I received a free copy of this novel through the Arcycling blog

Ritchie has a bad attitude. He kinda has a few reasons for the chip on his shoulder; his dad left, his sister was killed by a drunk driver, and his mom decided to become a lesbian. Plus he’s in juvie, serving a ninety day sentence and there are two boys who would love to get rid of him.

He tells his story from the moment him and his best friend (only friend) Elliot Hella a.k.a. El Hella, decide to form a band and enter in a battle of
Denise (TeenBookLook)
*** Content Analysis only ***

First Glance:

Ritchie tells of the year before he was arrested and put into juvenile detention when his parents divorce and he develops a relationship his mother's girlfriend who moves in with them and his sister dies.

Double Take:

Explicit sex scene
57 F-words
144 additional swear words (other than 'hell' & 'damn') + vulgar words for genitals and sex
Drug Use

Another Look:
"The truth is that if someone approached your child and spoke the words that are in
Art Edwards
Aug 24, 2013 Art Edwards rated it really liked it
As a teenager, I wasn’t much of a reader. Sure, I read the sports page, the occasional rock biography, but reading novels meant an assignment leveled at me by a teacher. Homework. These required books—A Tale of Two Cities comes to mind—offered nothing to appeal to my adolescent fantasies, which revolved around wanting to be awesome musician, play in a band, put out records and be chased by groupies. I wanted to be a rock star. Sorry, Madame Defarge, but Gene Simmons wins every time.

In the 1980s,
Sep 19, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars.

This book has definitely been one of my favorite recent reads. Richie was a great character and it was great following his journey. I loved the juxtaposition between before juvie and in juvie and I thought that that was a really effective way to tell the story.

I think the only real problem I had with the book was the prologue and epilogue from the "publishing agency". It was just stupid and gimmicky and unbelievable. It didn't add anything to the story and frankly just annoyed me to t
E. Anderson
Oct 15, 2013 E. Anderson rated it it was amazing
The latest from Sean Beaudoin, WISE YOUNG FOOL, is the kind of book that sits with you. The characters feel real, like people you've just spent a bunch of time hanging out with, and closing the book feels like saying goodbye. And rather than review this book, I feel like Richie Sudden would be okay with me making a short list of things you should know about WISE YOUNG FOOL before you dive in. (Which you should, it's fantastic.)

1. Richie Sudden, our hero, narrates this story alternating between s
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Living with Jackie Chan (Jumping Off Swings, #2)
  • Pieces
  • Believe
  • Kindness for Weakness
  • The Incredible Here and Now
  • The Minnow
  • When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky: Two Artists, Their Ballet, and One Extraordinary Riot
  • The Other Way Around
  • Chasing Shadows
  • Green Valentine
  • Intruder
  • Road Rash
  • Man Made Boy (Man Made Boy #1)
  • The Bone Sparrow
  • The Moonlight Dreamers
  • V for Violet
  • The Secret Life of a Dream Girl (Creative HeArts, #4; Dahlia and Keegan, #1)
  • The Lucy Variations
Sean Beaudoin is the author of five Young Adult novels, including the rude zombie love story The Infects, and the black comedy rock and roll love story Wise Young Fool. Sean likes love stories almost as much as he loves to talk about himself in the third person. Welcome Thieves is a short story collection that will be out March '16 with Algonquin Press.
More about Sean Beaudoin...

Share This Book