King of the Screwups by K. L. Going


Book description from Good Reads:

Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. Everybody loves him. He excels at sports; he knows exactly what clothes to wear; he always ends up with the most beautiful girls in school. But he’s got an uncanny ability to screw up in the very ways that tick off his father the most. When Liam finally kicked out of the house, his father’s brother takes him in. What could a teenage chick magnet possibly have in common with his gay, glam rocker, DJ uncle who lives in a trailer in upstate New York? A lot more than you’d think. And when Liam attempts to make himself over as a nerd in a desperate attempt to impress his father, it’s his “aunt” Pete and the guys in his band who convince Liam there’s much more to him than his father will ever see.

I enjoyed King of the Screwups. I have only read one other book by K. L. Going , Fat Kid Rules the World, which I also liked. Liam is a unique character in the fact that he’s popular. (The main characters in YA lit seem like they lean toward the not-so-popular crowd, unless you get into the fluffier stuff like Gossip Girl.) Liam isn’t perfect; while some of his choices are definitely not wise (see the opening scene where Liam is found with a girl on his dad’s desk) a lot of his screwups have been exaggerated by his father. Liam takes after his mother, which is a big disappointment to his father and he refuses to come to terms with who his son is. Over the course of the book, the reader and Liam learn about the dynamic in the relationships of his father, mother and uncle, which helps Liam find the courage to accept who he is and stand up for himself.

Most of the other characters is the book are a lot of fun. Pete has a group of best friends/band mates. All of them are gay, and while they talk about when they came out and the difficulties they experienced, they are all comfortable with who they are now and accepted in their community. They are great role models for Liam and the reader. I never felt like I got a good grasp on Darlene, the girl next door. I also found myself frustrated with Liam’s parents, not really understanding who they are and why they have made the choices they have over the years. This did not affect my enjoyment though, since these are minor characters.

While it is a book that deals with serious issues, it is full of humor and is a fast read. 3.5 stars


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