was hooked by this little book I found at the library, The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian. The ending was good for a stand-alone novel, but open enough for a sequel. A quick Google search confirmed it is the first novel in a three book series. I need to go back to the library and get Vote for Larry! Too bad that the final book in the series, Larry and the Meaning of Life, has never been published in Italian, so I won't find it here.
Seventeen-year-old Josh Swensen is a prodigy who wants to make the world a better place. When he was two, he was solving algebric equations using coloured magnetic numbers on the kitchen fridge. He sets up a website, The Gospel According to Larry, in which his alter-ego Larry publishes sermons against consumerism, and quickly becomes a national sensation. Everyone wants to discover Larry's identity. Josh, unable to reveal the truth to the people closer to him, starts to feel trapped inside his secret. What will happen if he is exposed?
Josh thinks of himself as a loner and a philosopher. His father, an alcoholic, died when he was a baby; his mother recently passed away from cancer. Josh now lives with his step-father, who works for an ad agency, and is secretly in love with his best friend Beth. She has never expressed any romantic interest in Josh, but ironically is very taken with Larry, and urges Josh to create a fan club for him.
The media circus around Josh grows exponentially, until his identity is exposed, and it all turns into a nightmare for him. He has alienated his stepfather; Beth feels he has betrayed her trust, and won't be his friend anymore. Josh needs to find a way to break free, but, again, it might turn against him.
This is a fast-paced, well-structured book with a few twists. Some aspects were maybe a bit too convenient, plot-wise (such as Josh's stepfather's job in advertisement, which gives Larry access to unreleased ad campaigns) or slightly difficult to believe, yet heart-breaking (Josh talks to his dead mother at the cosmetics section of Bloomingdale's, and waits for her answer in the form of words muttered by passers-by). I wanted Josh and Beth to get together, even though it was pretty obvious it never would happen. Not in this book, anyway. Maybe in the next one?
A great read for teens. I need to find the next book in the series!
Cover attraction: I'm not so fond of the original cover. The black nail polish doesn't do it for me.