This is a debut young adult novel by Lisa R. Petty. She is well known for her contributions to Huffington Post and her blog, lisarpetty.com. Scott lives in Hollywood, Florida. He feels like a dork at his private school for kids who had trouble in public school. He and his best friend, Bailey are constantly bullied by a kid named Wolfgang. Wolfgang’s dad owns the pizza place right next to his family’s deli so there is no escaping this guy. His home life isn’t perfect. His dad is always at the deli while his mom’s many ailments turned her into a hermit. Girls are a constant source of confusion. There’s a new girl named Ashley. He makes a fool of himself any time she is around. He thinks his school is a joke so many young readers will relate to that feeling. It doesn’t help that his principal thinks the bully, Wolfgang can do no wrong. When something happens to the bully it is hard to decide if justice was served or was Wolfgang a victim. It makes for a great discussion with teens.
This is a great guy read. He has embarrassing biology moments where he is grateful for a towel to cover up the evidence. Many young readers will see themselves in Scott and his friends. Being a teen is a royal pain and for most people it is a time to survive instead of thrive.
I loved all of the South Florida references. I lived in Plantation for a couple of years which is near Hollywood, Florida. Reading this book made me feel nostalgic for the beach and the mall of all places. Petty does a great job keeping it authentic. It was a fun read!
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Would you rather attend a school with 25 students in your whole grade or hundreds of people you don’t know?
How would you handle Wolfgang if you were Scott?
Why do you think people act weird around people they have a crush on?
Discuss Bailey’s possible drinking problem. Why do you think Scott didn’t know?
What did you think was going on with Ashley and her pills?
Discuss what happened between Bailey and Wolfgang.
Discuss Scott’s relationship with his parents.
Discuss Scott’s relationship with Ashley.
What do you think Ashley sees in Wolfgang?
Discuss Scott’s first card he made for Wolfgang.
Discuss how Scott could have responded to Mrs. Luger’s comment about being nice to Wolfgang on page 185.
How do you feel about birthday parties.