Skip to main content

The Boomerang Effect

Review

The Boomerang Effect

Things haven’t gotten off to a good start for Lawrence Barry’s Junior year at Meridian High. After getting busted for dancing shirtless with rolls of toilet paper at a school assembly claiming that he was participating in a traditional Chinese Ribbon dance, he narrowly avoids expulsion and is forced to participate in the school’s Buddy Club. In this program used to mentor freshman students, he is assigned Spencer Knudsen. Easy right? Only the Spencer Knudsen turns out to be a Norwegian exchange student named Spencer Knudsen, who has the social skills of a teaspoon. With alienation from his friend group, unexpected LARPing, rouge chickens, and vikings bent on destroying Homecoming, Lawrence’s status of of “cool” moves from stable to uncertain within the blink of an eye --- and all he can do is watch as his reputation goes up in flames.    
 
The first book by high school librarian Gordon Jack, THE BOOMERANG EFFECT examines what it really means to be normal and the effects of how a high school social hierarchy affects how students see themselves by presenting it in a humorous way.
 
"THE BOOMERANG EFFECT examines what it really means to be normal and the effects of how a high school social hierarchy affects how students see themselves by presenting it in a humorous way."
 
The question of normalcy is brought up a lot in this book. From his button down shirts and trousers, to his rolling backpack, Spencer Knudsen is decidedly not normal. From the very second Lawrence lays eyes on him, he makes it his mission to teach him how to fit in. While Lawrence might be Spencer’s mentor, it’s really Spencer who does most of the mentoring. A mini genius, Lawrence regards Spencer as the archetypal “Wise Old Man” and goes to him for advice for all his problems.      
 
Throughout the book Lawrence struggles with his relationship with his parents. His father, a workaholic lawyer who is never home, only cares about Lawrence’s popularity status. His mother isn’t much better. Throughout the novel she is off in New York promoting her book The Connected Clan: A How-to Guide for Virtual Parenting, and only communicates with her son through their family website. For obvious reason this has a negative effect on Lawrence’s psyche as he feels as if he has no one to turn to for advice.
 
It surprised me how much I enjoyed this book. While although the beginning the book seems like a PSA about not smoking marijuana --- Lawrence struggles with a severe overuseage of weed in the novel and is labeled as a burnout --- the rest of the book’s random hilarity makes it a compelling and quick read.
 
THE BOOMERANG EFFECT is a relatable coming of age story about a boy who discovers that high school isn’t about being popular, but being comfortable with yourself. High school is a big transitioning period and I think that we can all relate to Lawrence’s struggle of figuring out who his true friends are. While the ending was a bit to convenient and wrapped up for my taste, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fun, quick, and lighthearted book to read over the holidays.
   

Reviewed by Zoe I., Teen Board Member on November 15, 2016

The Boomerang Effect
by Gordon Jack