July 23rd, 2010

writer cat

where do i begin?

I remember back to the 80s when I first read WEETZIE BAT by Francesca Lia Block. My first reaction was, "?" It took me a beat or two to pick up what was happening to the face of YA literature as it met up with magical realism a la pop culture in a slinskter style (if you have no idea what I just said, Hie thee to a bookstore!). Ditto experience for RATS SAW GOD by Rob Thomas (I only knew there was someone named this who was a writer and not a rocker at the time as Matchbox 20 has not become elevator music yet). Now, imagine if Rob Thomas and Fracesca Lia Block had a child, a child who could channel John Green, Hunter S. Thompson, and maybe Elmore Leonard and Dashiell Hammett all jumbled together but snarkier?

Even if you can imagine all that, you still have no idea what is in store for you when you read Sean Beaudoin's latest offering: YOU KILLED WESLEY PAYNE (Little Brown, February 2011), a film noir set in a high school from the dark imaginings of hard-boiled dick. Dalton Rev is our detective, transferred to Salt River High to solve the mystery of "the body." To do so, he will have to understand the rather complex clique system and its hierarchy which include your traditional beefy jocks (the Ballers) and nerds (the Euclidians) and some less familiar groups (the Lee Harvies). References to pop culture might just cause some whiplash here (wait, was that a reference to Clockwork Orange? World According to Garp?) for some readers. However, the hijinks will still appeal to those who do not get them all (and seriously I need to read this again as I know I missed some of it as well).

Fresh, funny, dark, and able to outsnark the snarkiest: YOU KILLED WESLEY PAYNE was a wonderful way to pass a hot summer day. I do believe that if you send an email to the lovely Victoria Stapleton, she might find some other copies of this ARC for you to feast upon. Tell her I sent you.

And now I head off to take the resident of the back bedroom, all newly coiffed (and with some serous new red in her hair) for her senior pix. Should be an interesting morning.