Wise Young Fool by Sean Beaudoin
I can really see my young male readers loving this title, especially those who aren’t really “into” reading but are being forced to find a book because their English teacher is forcing them. What I picture readers liking about this book is the main character’s snarky mouth and sarcastic sense of humor. Richie Sudden is allegedly writing the story from a 90-day lock up in Juvie. His counselor is forcing him to keep a journal explaining how he got himself in this mess. Just don’t call it a diary!
“No, man, this ain’t no diary.
What we have here is a forced narrative.
What we have here is a failure to exaggerate.
What we have here is homework for a bunch of dudes who were too slick to get caught.
And then got caught.
Tried and tied.
Nailed and bailed.”
Oh, and Richie sometimes writes song lyrics instead of plain old narration because he’s in a band on the outside with his best friend Elliot, better known as El Hella. So the story is told from two perspectives: Richie’s journal talking about his life in lock up and flashbacks about his life that ended up getting him in lockup. Beaudoin separates the narration into different chapters, making it easy for readers to figure out where they are. And Richie has nothing but attitude, making him easy for any teen to identify with, even if you’re not that sarcastic yourself, you DO think those kinds of thoughts. Richie’s life before juvie is in hyperdrive, he and El Hella are gearing up for a local battle of the bands, except their band has no name, no drummer and no singer. Minor details, right? Richie’s sister Beth died and his dad walked out on the family, but no problem, Mom’s new girlfriend Looper moves right in. And Richie has a way of deflecting everything with his quick and angry cynicism. While in juvie he has become the favorite object of two bullying inmates who set up fights between the basically unwilling participants and use cigarettes as the mechanism for betting on the outcome.
This fast-paced book will grab readers and not let them go. It’s a hilarious rocket ride through a character’s slightly demented mind, while at the same time keeping readers wondering how the events Richie is describing can possibly lead to his ending up in juvie. I recommend this to YA readers who may not like to read, readers who like stories that involve bands or music, and teens who want a humorous story.
Other books by Sean Beaudoin: