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"Savaging young love, male adolescence, and the fast food business. . . . Did somebody say McSatire?" – Kirkus Reviews (starred reviews)
Anthony has never been able to stand up for himself — that is, not until his girlfriend is in someone else’s arms. Then Anthony vows revenge and devises the Plan. It begins with getting a job at the fast-food restaurant where his nemesis happens to be a star employee. But when the Plan is finally in place, will Anthony’s hunger for revenge be satisfied? Will he prove he’s not a wuss?
It looked to be a love story for the ages. They first met as she was handing over his order of a Big O sandwich, six-piece nuggets, small fries, and a medium chocolate shake. He had exact change. They spent a magical night together with a gang of young rebels, traipsing through town on a mission to correct grammatical errors in street signs and graffiti ("Drive Slowly"). But just when it seemed things couldn't be better, tragedy struck. Anthony caught his beloved Diana making out at a party with another guy. And what's worse, he was a high school graduate from the neighboring town, hailing only by his last name: Turner. Now Anthony must devise a vengeful plan by which he can humiliate his humiliator and win back his girl.
M.T. Anderson, author of the darkly comic suburban vampire tale Thirsty, here turns his attention to the of-this-world horrors of high school romance and minimum-wage drudgery. The result is a hugely funny, fast-paced romp through teen angst. Passages describing the O'Dermott's experience (the fast-food joint where Turner works and where Anthony gets a job as part of his evil plot) are spill-your-soda hilarious--obviously the words of someone who has lived the nightmare. Anthony laments, "It was hard not to feel ugly. Crusty. Doped. My fingernails were black. My shirt was stiff. My hair hung flat. My skin was shellacked with ambient lard." Not to mention the fact that he works side-by-side with his nemesis, his two best friends have fallen in subverbal saccharine love with each other, and his only hope is teaming up with Shunt, the vegan, anarchist grill cook. As Anderson clearly understands and as Anthony notes (while mustering the courage to kiss his archenemy's girlfriend), "There is a certain ferocity you need, to be a teenager in America." Indeed. (Ages 13 and older) --Brangien Davis
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