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King of the Screwups

Review

King of the Screwups

Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. His good looks and stellar social
abilities make him loved by everyone at school. He might not get
the best grades or always do the right things, but there’s
something about his personality that makes people want to be with
him. At home, however, it’s a different
story. Everything Liam does seems to anger his CEO father, who
is constantly on his case telling him that popularity won’t
get him far in life.


Then Liam does something that angers his father so much that he is
kicked out of the house. Liam’s mother, an ex-fashion model,
agrees with her husband --- because she doesn’t have much of
a choice. Liam is shipped off to upstate New York to live with his
gay, glam rocker, DJ uncle (aka “Aunt Pete”) until he
can straighten himself out. He finally has a chance to change and
prove to his father that he’s not just Mr. Popular. At a new
school, Liam tries to reinvent himself as Mr. Unpopularity and
hopes that maybe then he won’t screw up so much.


But even when he casts aside his designer threads and tries to
dress in Aunt Pete’s weird t-shirts, the popular kids still
want to hang out with him. Everyone at school adores his oddball
ways and the fact that he’s the son of a famous ex-fashion
model. Everyone, that is, except a girl named Darleen, who lives in
the same trailer park as his uncle. Darleen is a loner artsy girl
who instantly resents Liam’s quick and easy ability to make
friends. This only adds fire to Liam’s mission to become
unpopular. He doesn’t care about winning over the friendship
of the football players or cheerleaders. Instead, he wants Darleen
to like him.


Liam’s plan to become unpopular and succeed in academics
proves harder and harder, which makes him feel defeated about his
ability to ever impress his father. Will this King of the Screwups
ever straighten out?


KING OF THE SCREWUPS is a touching, funny novel about a character
you can’t help but love and feel sorry for at the same time.
The flashback scenes from Liam’s childhood weave in nicely
with the flow of the story and open new windows of understanding
into his character. K. L. Going, author of FAT KID RULES THE WORLD
and SAINT IGGY, once again proves her masterful ability to paint a
realistic teen voice with depth and emotion that makes the story
become so alive. His cross-dressing relative, “Aunt
Pete,” is a unique character for a role model who works so
well with a “screwup” like Liam. In his quest for
identity, Liam learns that maybe he should work on being himself
rather than trying to be the person someone else wants him to
be.


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Reviewed by Kristi Olson on October 18, 2011

King of the Screwups
by K. L. Going

  • Publication Date: April 6, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
  • ISBN-10: 0152062580
  • ISBN-13: 9780152062583