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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Idiot!: A Love Story With Drama, Betrayal and e-mail* by Colin Neenan - young adult book review

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Idiot!: A Love Story with Drama, Betrayal and e-mail
by Colin Neenan
Young adult 152 pages Brown Barn Books September 2004 Paperback    

Blame it on Shakespeare. If it hadn’t been for Jim O’Reilly’s friend Gene trying out for their high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, none of this would have happened. Jim wouldn’t have realized that his best friend Zanny was THE ONE. There would be no fluttery feelings of jealous in his stomach over Zanny being in love with his twin brother, Jake. He wouldn’t have confessed that he loves her via a “Cyrano de Bergerac meets the Internet” kind of way and he certainly wouldn’t have ended up in a tree outside her bedroom window eating all of his love letters to her while the police try to talk him down. No local photographer would have captured the moment on film, selling it to 300 newspapers nationwide. No book deals, no book tours, no television and radio spots, no locking himself in a hotel room threatening to kill himself if they don’t listen to the real story.

Oh, to return to a simpler time.

Zanny’s romanticized tell-all, Love Doesn’t Grow on Trees, becomes a bestseller and catapults Jim and Zanny straight to the top of the A-list and into America’s hearts. Strange women kiss Jim in the middle of the street while others are mailing him their underwear. The perfect teenaged couple gives hope to a depressed nation that true love might be found after all. Encouraged by their agent, the two perpetuate the image until one day Jim just. Can’t. TAKE IT. His laptop being stolen is the final straw, and Jim finds himself holed up in a hotel room for as long as it takes to write his own version of the story that landed him in this mess.

As the story unfolds, Jim realizes that young love isn’t always so innocent and pure. Cheating, secrets and lies abound amongst his friends and family. It seems that no one can keep it in their pants: Jim’s mom leaves his dad, Zanny pledges her undying love to Jake while Jake’s nympho girlfriend tries to hump anything with a pulse, and Gene’s girlfriend dumps him for a guy she met on the Internet. What fools these mortals be, indeed.

While disguised as an ordinary love story between teens, Idiot! has more to offer than the usual fluff a romance normally comprises. Colin Neenan writes about love in the grittiest of terms: love isn’t easy, love sucks and love will mess you up, turn you upside-down and stomp on your brain until you can’t see straight. Occurrences of drug and alcohol use, sex and unrequited teen love as seen from the male perspective, sprinkled with a healthy helping of humor, make this novella relevant to today’s teens. There are no promises that everything will work out perfectly; instead, Neenan only offers a hope for the best and if all else fails, life goes on and you’ll get over it.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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