STOP ME IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE (Hyperion, 2008, end of this month) is the story of the hapless Albert Kim. He has deliberately set up to make himself such a pariah that he is no longer on the radar of anyone at his school. His summer job, though, puts him in daily contact with the lovely Mia, the girlfriend of House (aka Ryan Stackhouse) and, as such, very off limits for someone like Albert. However, Mia has broken up with Ryan and the long summer spent cleaning hotel rooms brings the two together as friends and then as more. School begins and Al is back on the radar (sometimes this is a good thing; more often, it is not). He and Mia are humming right along until Ryan is diagnosed with cancer. Mia feels as if she needs to spend time with Ryan and help in his recovery. Al does not take this well, and therein lies the problem.
Quirky characters, especially Al and his parents, lots of humor, silliness, and some seriousness all combine to make this a quick read, one that will appeal to high school boys and girls, I think. Since I am still thinking of matching up books for the professional book I am revising now, I know there are a couple of titles I want to throw out there. NORTHERN LIGHT is a 180 opposite to this book but one that has some interesting connections for comparison, IMHO. Paul Zindel has a novel about kids working in a hotel similar to the one in this book in (I think) THE AMAZING AND DEATH DEFYING DIARY OF EUGENE DINGMAN. I may have the title wrong and right now am too tired to look it up.