Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian

Main Character: 17-year-old Josh Swenson, aka Larry
Location: somewhere in the Northeast United States
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: YA Fiction, Humorous

Josh Swenson is a fairly typical high school boy--he's had a crush on Beth since grade school but he can't tell her how he feels. Since the death of his mother, he has lived alone with his stepfather, an advertising executive. He's very smart, a bit of a nerd, and though he isn't anti-social, he sometimes feels the need to get away by himself in the woods. Oh, and he is also Larry, the creator of an anticonsumerism website.

Trying to keep his identity as Larry a secret is getting hard, especially when Beth wants to start a Larry fan club at school. She raves about Larry's site, "The Gospel According to Larry," and sometimes feels as if Larry is speaking directly to her (which sometimes, you know, he is, but Josh can't let on.) Larry's message is spreading across the country, and Josh begins to think that maybe, just maybe, he is able to change the world. But there is a thorn in Larry's side--an emailer called betagold who is determined to discover who Larry actually is. (Hey, if betagold is so concerned about Larry's anonymity, why is s/he hiding behind his/her own alias?)

This was such a fun book to read. I really liked Josh and sympathized with his need to make this world a better place, as well as his disdain for celebrity, consumer culture, and crowds. He has a real dilemma when his website begins to get noticed and he himself becomes a bit of celebrity.

The blog Guys Lit Wire posted a review of this book recently, which is what spurred me to read it. Guys Lit Wire is a great place to find YA books for boys and I have come across some good suggestions there--you should check it out.

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