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King of the Screwups

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3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,427 ratings  ·  362 reviews
Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. Everybody loves him. He excels at sports; he knows exactly what clothes to wear; he always ends up with the most beautiful girls in school. But he's got an uncanny ability to screw up in the very ways that tick off his father the most.
When Liam finally kicked out of the house, his father's brother takes him in. What could a teenage chick magn
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published April 6th 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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3.82  · 
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 ·  2,427 ratings  ·  362 reviews


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Kim
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it

"Everything popular is wrong” so writes Oscar Wilde, and why wouldn’t he? The snarky bastard. He was in a mood, of course. He wanted to be adored, right? Who doesn’t really? Isn’t that the angst of it all? Who hates me? Will I be the freak du jour today? Oh shit, the head cheerleader is talking to me, what the hell?

High school was not the best time for me… believe it or not. I was shy and therefore considered a bitch because I stared at the ground, hiding behind my 7 inch bangs and never making
...more
J. Taylor
What didn't work in this: The ending was way too abrupt.

As for the kids, other then the main guy, don't really feel they're fleshed out enough.


What did work: Pete and the other guys, they were awesome. Every scene with them was just so heart-warming.

Liam, he's a hetro fashionista who's not afraid to show it which is so cool to see and he's so hard on himself though when he really shouldn't because he's actually a great guy.

Liam and his uncle's relationship, he needed that positive parental f
...more
Andrew Hicks
May 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
This book’s got pedigree. A starred review from Publishers Weekly promises comedy and a protagonist you’ll feel for. A starred review from School Library Journal praises K.L. Going for “defying stereotypes” and creating “memorable characters.”

(Bonus points to each critic for not calling protagonist Liam Gellar “Holden Caulfield if he’d been written by a woman as a straight guy obsessed with fashion.”)

Four more quoted reviews on the inside cover make this book out to be fresh and innovative, bu
...more
Michael
May 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Liam Gellar's father is a successful business man and his mother a world-renowned model. Given that combination of genes, Liam should have the world at his feet. And in some areas, he does. When it comes to being popular and well-liked by his peers, he excels. When it comes to his classes, his grades and pleasing his father, well, let's just say he's coming up a bit short. Liam is hard on himself, constantly seeking his father's approval and never quite succeeded. This leads to Liam thinking of ...more
Sara
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-guy-or-girl
This is a unique story, and because of that, Going may have written herself out of an audience.
The protagonist, Liam, is a supermodel in the making. He's drop-dead gorgeous, has inimitable fashion taste, and has a real taste for all things fashionisto. On the other hand, his father is a world-class controlling jerk who sends Liam to live in a trailer park.
The most interesting and well-balanced character in the story is Aunt Pete, a gay, cross-dressing radio DJ who takes Liam in when he's homel
...more
Charles Lai
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book I read was King of the Screwups by K.L. Going. The novel is about a teenage boy named Liam who always screwed up and tries to make his father proud of him. He gets into some trouble, so he heads to his "Aunt" Pete's trailer to live in and go to school in the city. He make a few new friends, but that's not what he truly want, he want's a proud father. This wasn't the best book I've read, but it's a lot better than most. The beginning is kind of boring, but once you get more into it, I be ...more
Sarah
Sep 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
From my YA Book blog:

What makes this book so wonderful is Liam, the main character, and his Aunt Pete, a Glam rocker who dresses in ladies clothes and plays '70s music. He is about as outcast from his family as it is possible for a relative to be and when Liam is sentenced to live with him after his father kicked him out, well, it's a match of Mr. Popularity versus Mr. Outcast.

Liam is just a heartwrenching character. He just wants to do things right but he has such a skewed vision of what is rig
...more
Kat
Jun 20, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction, dude-lit
Well, "Fat Kid Rules the World" still remains my favorite K.L. Going book thus far, but this one was pretty good. Liam wasn't particularly likable to me, but the premise of his character is pretty amusing: a guy who screws everything up because he's too "perfect." Well, in the social context of high school, at least. He's the heartbreaker, the athlete, the fashionista, the rich boy, the teenage Adonis... Mr. Popularity. But he screws up one time too many for his CEO father and is shipped off to ...more
Mama
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Liam Geller is the hilarious hero of this story. He stars out the book as a popular kid who has labled himself a screwup, and he thinks he can't do anything right. He get's kicked out of his house to live with his witty gay uncle. While living with his "aunt" Pete he tries to be everything he's not, and comically screws up at being a geek, a problem that, unfortunately, no teen actually haves.

This was a bubbly and a genuinely funny book that had me cackling with joy all through it. Although I fo
...more
Victoria Jimenez
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book The King of the Screw Ups by KL Going is about a boy named Liam Geller who is an athletic, nicely dressed popular guy at school. Everyone at school likes him and he can basically get any girl he wants, but his life at school differs from his personal life at home. When Liam is at home, he tends to screw up many things for his parents and himself. His dad starts to get irritated of Liam and decides to do something very harsh, but you’ll have to read the book to find out.
I think the auth
...more
Daline Sousa
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is very funny. It did have some sad moments, but the author overshadows it with some light to make it more upbeat. This book has many different topics that it speaks about, but it overall connects to make a greater message. The message behind the book is what makes me like it so much. I can relate to it and understand it. The story itself wasn’t really relatable only because it was so unique and creative.

The story is basically about this boy, named Liam, always messing up. It transit
...more
Will White
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars in the young adult genre. Fun and fast read that deal with several of today's teenage issues, but they did seem too exaggerated sometimes.
Mckeda Knight
Mar 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Liam Geller was a teenage boy who thought that the only thing he was ever good at ,was screwing things up perfectly. He was never able to accomplish a task without making a complete fool of himself. Liam had quite influential parents and thus he was able to be ranked as one of the most popular kids in his school. He always had the trendiest style and fashion. Liam at a young age sought to impresses his father with his academic performance however his father would tell him that his work was nothi ...more
Aaron
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Liam Geller would seem to have everything. His mom used to be a supermodel, but after retiring she now owns a super-successful clothing boutique. His dead is an uber-businessman, raking in millions of dollars. Having what he wants is never a problem ... or so it would seem.

Liam, entering his senior year in high school, has a bit of a reputation of being a party-boy. When his father comes home and catches him with a girl on his father's desk, everything seems to come to a head. Liam's father is d
...more
Miriam
Aug 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book had potential to interest - the narrator is a beautiful 17-year-old, aspiring model who, after being kicked out by his disapproving, successful businessman father, ends up living in a trailer in upstate NY with his middle-aged gay, glam-rock uncle. Sounds interesting right? But it isn't. The characters are poorly developed and every situation - the kid's relationship with his father, the parents' relationship, and the tension between the father and uncle - felt cliched. Worst though is ...more
Pam
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, fiction
This book is a great read for a reluctant high-school reader. Here is a kid who has it all -- money (dad is a CEO), looks (he looks just like his mother a famous runway model), popularity (the girls always love him) and he is a great athlete. However he constantly screws up, especially where his father is concerned. After being caught in flagrante delicto by his father, he is thrown out of his house just as senior year is starting. Sent to live with his gay, glam rocker of an uncle in a small to ...more
Dawn Vanniman
Oct 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Liam Geller is the only child of a former model and a CEO. The only thing he seems to be good at, in his opinion, is screwing up. Finally his Dad throws him out. Instead of going to his hated grandparents, which his Dad thinks he's doing, he goes to live in a trailer park with his "Aunt" Pete, his Dad's brother.


Aunt Pete is a cross dressing gay glam rocker. Liam's Dad doesn't approve of or speak to Pete. Pete agrees to take Liam in and tells him he needs to figure out what he's going to do. The
...more
Andrew
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading "King of the Screwups" by K.L. Going. It was about a boy named Liam who is Mr. Popularity but always seems to somehow screw everything up. In the beginning of the book Liam decided to through a party and eventually things started to escalate and Liam's parents found him in his fathers office with a girl. Liam's parents were so mad with his actions and his past actions they made him go to his "uncles" house for his senior year of high school. Except his uncle wasn't his uncle an ...more
Colleen
Mar 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, reviewed
When Mr. Popularity Liam Geller's type-A dad kicks him out of the house, Liam goes to live with his cross-dressing uncle Pete in a trailer park upstate. As Liam struggles to change, to be unpopular, his uncle battles to help him be true to himself in the face of parental disapproval.

Based on the flap copy, I thought this book would be funny and poignant- a great light read. Though it was in fact funny and poignant, it was also a painfully raw look parental mental abuse at its worst. I was shock
...more
Nicole
May 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: someone who didn't know better
Shelves: ya, lgbtq
Interesting premise: a beautiful boy is popular against his will, is popular despite actively trying not to be, is popular to the point of ridiculousness.

My sympathies only stretch so far, you know? Oh poor little pretty one, everybody wants to be your friend, there there.

Props to Going for
A: Creating a parent who really does NOT have his kids best interests at heart.
B: Creating a straight boy who is very into fashion and passionate about clothing displays.
C: Portraying a gay, middle-aged uncle
...more
Caleb Conaway
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
King of the Screwups is a very different book from what most of us are used to reading. It has the difficult story of a boy in a bad relationship with his father, with deep undertones of societal discrimination. If you ignore the story (which I wouldn't suggest, it's phenomenal), then you can read in between the lines to find the statements the author is making on discrimination. Uncle Pete is gay, and is hated by his town and most of his family for it. Darleen is a smart woman in a small town o ...more
Alaina
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult, fiction, lgbt
Ever since Fat Kid Rules the World I have loved this author for her ability to write real people. Liam's parents are perfect people who have screwed up, a lot, in ways that many parents do. Liam's life shows a reflection of their issues, plus a healthy dose of his own. Even his uncle Pete, the gay, cross-dressing glam rocker, isn't perfect at living up to his own ideal of not compromising who he is for anyone. There are little asides that give us glimpses of other people's screwups that they usu ...more
Raina
Apr 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: realistic, ya
Liam is popular. He’s the son of a famous businessman and a supermodel. He’s hot and knows how to dress to make the most of it. And he’s terrible at school. This serves him well among his peers, but his father, businessman that he is, is not impressed. Liam’s father disapproves of nearly everything about Liam. And after one more wild party which violates his father’s desk, Liam is kicked out of the house. He lands in a trailer in a tiny town, living with his father’s estranged brother, who happe ...more
Nancy
Jun 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Liam Geller is a very popular teen, but in his father's eyes, he can only do wrong, always screwsup, gets into trouble. Finally, his dad throws him out and he goes to live with his gay uncle. Living in a trailer in a small town is not exactly what Liam had in mind for his senior year - especially after having lived in such glamorous cities as Paris when his mother was at the top of her modeling career. Liam can't quite figure out how to fit in because he really doesn't believe in himself. No won ...more
Donna Whitlock
Aug 30, 2011 is currently reading it
This is an easy read. Readers will sympathize with Liam, the main character. He is thrown out of his parent's home because his parents feel that there is nothing more they can do for their son. He refuses to take responsibility for anything in his life. He has no direction and his grades have hit rock bottom. He is taken in by his Glam/Rock gay uncle, Aunt Pete that lives in a trailer. As hard as Liam tries to be unpopular at his new school, he fails. The book moves quickly from one quirky episo ...more
Kate
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A unique twist on K.L. Going's pitch-perfect teen voice, KING OF THE SCREWUPS features Liam, a fashion-conscious high school boy (and no, he's not gay) who would love to be a model. When he screws up one too many times for his high-powered CEO father, he ends up shipped off to Upstate NY to live with his glam-rock uncle in a trailer park. A funny, poignant, and hopeful read that had me cheering for Liam at the end.
Rebecca McNutt
I don't know about this one. I'm not really of its target age group, nor was I really able to relate to or even really like either of the main characters. I found the writing a little slow, too. But this is just my opinion; I think if I were younger I would've appreciated this one more.
Jenna Dela cruz
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was so sad. It was so emotionally draining reading the pain Liam experiences. But it's a great story.
Nic
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very well written story about finding who you are and being true to yourself. Going created a great cast of supporting characters. Aunt Pete was great.
Elise Lashinsky
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a teenage boy who has been sent away by his CEO father (and mother who doesn't stand up to his father) who is often verbally abusive and flippant when it comes to his son's interests. Liam, whose mother was a model, likes fashion and made the varsity basketball team as a freshman, but his father sees these interests as useless and accordingly, Liam is raised to believe that he is only good at things that don't matter. He feels like a screwup and in many ways, he's a self-fulfi ...more
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Character Education 1 6 Oct 28, 2011 06:54AM  

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K.L. Going is the award winning author of numerous books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz Honor Book by the American Library Association, and was included on YALSA’s Best Books for Young Adults list and their list of Best Books for the Past Decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild sele ...more
“You can't create love, Liam. You just have to take it wherever you find it.” 8 likes
“Doesn't it bother you that people don't get it?'

Pete starts to shake his head then he catches himself and holds still.

Nope,' he says. 'If you know what you love, it doesn't matter what other people think. Besides, people are challenged when they're uncomfortable.”
7 likes
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