Proimos, J. (2011). 12 things to do before you crash and burn. NY: Roaring Brook Press.
YA / Realistic Fiction / Humor / Contemporary
QuickNEasy, 128 pages, ages 15-18
I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads, but really, for some readers I'd say it's a 5 and others a 1!
This is an extremely quick read -- I think if you removed all the white space and condensed the text, it might make 30 pages. . .maybe.
That said, for so few words, it really had quite a story. The main character, Hercules, is a sixteen-year-old witty slacker, and we quickly figure out his feelings about his recently deceased father. What happens over the course of the story, though, is that Hercules develops a self-awareness, thanks to his uncle, and grows enough to put his life in perspective. And he does all this via some pretty humorous situations. A little unbelievable at times, but I was willing to go with it because it was fun. I liked this kid.
Boys and girls alike will recognize Hercules because he has so many comfortable, familiar ways. You want to hang out with him and know that he'd be a crack-up. And even a reluctant reader will read this straight through because it is a page-turner.
As far as the Clean-O-Meter rating, I'd have to give this one a 5.5. There's a fight, but it's funny. There is quite a bit of vulgar language (ranging from s**t to F-bombers and more), but it fits and really helps give a portrait of the character, so it's not completely gratuitous. There is also a teenage sexual situation that isn't detailed, but it is basically a one-night-stand and there is no indication that it was safe-sex. And finally, there is one scene of underage drinking, but again, it helps define the characters in the scene.