Thursday, April 16, 2009

King of the Screwups by K. L. Going

Liam is on a quest. After being kicked out of his home for screwing up one time too many, he’s landed in the trailer home of his Uncle Pete (also known as Aunt Pete due to him not only being in a glamrock band, but also being gay). Living in a trailer after living in a much more advantaged environment has its downsides. Namely that Pete isn’t much for cleanliness or cooking. But since Liam is determined to not repeat his mistakes, namely avoiding popularity since he believes that is where his problems stem from, he’s actually in a great spot.

“I shut my bedroom door and stand in front of the curtain rod I’ve turned into a makeshift clothes rack. I need to pick out something uncool to wear, but not a single piece of clothing is by itself unattractive, and since I only wear clothes in my personal color spectrum, even odd combinations of clothes end up vaguely related. Crap. Day one and already there are obstacles. I go out to the kitchen. Pete? Can I borrow one of your T-shirts?”

So Liam is obviously a bit of a pill. He’s a lovable kid who has been let down most by those who are supposed to protect him. His dad is emotionally abusive and his mom has chosen to allow her husband’s opinions, low and cruel as they are, to become family cannon.

If I have one complaint it is that Liam found it so difficult to become unpopular. No matter what he did, he was just as loved and admired by the popular kids. It just struck me as too much. Now, obviously, Liam was fighting against his charming, amiable, and easygoing nature (not to mention his good looks), but please! It is just not that difficult to become unpopular! Stop bathing! Talk non-stop about yourself! Tell people they're fat! Act Surly! Tell people to f-off!

For me, the best part of this book was Uncle Pete and his friends. I loved that they were in a Glamrock band, I loved how Pete slowly figured out his footing on how to be a parent, I loved how he fought for the good of Liam, even when Liam was self-sabotaging. It was heart-felt and real and was truly the strength of the book. The characterization was excellent. Liam was so fun with his knowledge of fashion. Pete, of course, pure awesome. But all the characters felt real to me and I found myself wishing I knew more than one of them in real life.

No comments: