Kat's Reviews > King of the Screwups

King of the Screwups by K.L. Going
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's review
Jun 20, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: ya-fiction, dude-lit
Read in July, 2009

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 live in a dingy trailer with Aunt Pete, his outcast gay glam-rock DJ uncle. The fact that Liam has to try to be unpopular and studious in his new school (and screws that up miserably, too) in order to please his disappointed father is so laughably ridiculous. He tries wearing crappy clothes, making friends with the nerds, joining AV, etc, and yet the cheerleaders are still fawning over him and the jocks are still saving a space for him at the lunch table.
With a supermodel for a mother, you start thinking that maybe this poor guy is genetically predisposed for this grueling chore of hot babes, friends, parties, etc etc. Oh, the humanity. But surprise! Liam is a decent guy inside who just once wants to do something right in the eyes of his father. He also has a profound love/talent for fashion and style, leading one to believe that there is more in store for him (and not what you'd expect for a straight popular guy) after the glories of high school. Aunt Pete and his motley band of friends are there along the way to help Liam realize that he is not defined by how others define him.
I read a lot of YA fiction, and while I often delight in deserved comeuppance against the Normies and Jocks as a former (present?) nerd, it gets old. And Liam doesn't necessarily deserve it. He's naturally handsome and has great social skills, so he's popular. No mystery there. But we get to see beyond the stereotypes, and we get to see him take the messy, unconventional steps of putting together the pieces of who he really wants to be.
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