Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders

Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders  by Geoff Herbach
Gabe Johnson (called "Chunk") doesn't have much in his life.  He isn't a scholar or a jock, he doesn't have a girlfriend, and his home life is kind of pathetic.  Although he isn't very musically talented, Chunk is happiest in the high school band, and looks forward to marching camp each summer.

When money for the music program is cut, and at the same time a new cheerleading dance squad is formed and funded, Chunk deduces (correctly) that proceeds from the school soda machine, which supposedly supported the band, have been diverted to the cheerleaders.

Chunk doesn't just get mad.  He also makes plans to get even.

The reader knows from page one that Chunk's plans went awry, because the book is narrated in a police report. The characters begin as stereotypes: cheerleaders, jocks, geeks, goths and stoners.  However, nobody stays inside the boundaries of a stereotype, and that is why this story is worthwhile. The journey to the police station is convoluted, funny, poignant, and feels very true, especially to this former-high-school-band-weenie reader.

A bit of minor cussing, no sex, some tactful kissing (mostly off-page), and some sweet romance.

Recommended for readers ages 12 to adult.

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