I suspect many authors will agree with me when I say that Kirkus reviews can make you shake in your boots. Kirkus doesn’t mince words. They know what they like and they’ll tell you when they don’t like something. And when I say they tell “you” I mean everyone.
So, tonight when I had an e-mail in my Inbox with the heading: King of the Screwups: Kirkus Review 3/15/09 it was a cause for fear and trembling. As I’ve previously admitted, I am a coward, so my first thought was to make my husband read it for me and tell me if it was good or bad. Then I thought I just wouldn’t open the e-mail at all. But this was a stupid idea because clearly I was going to have to open it eventually. So finally I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and clicked the link. I opened one eye, scanned to the last line, which can very often tell you whether a review is good or scathing and…
Voila! I couldn’t have been more shocked or excited. There sat a review which, although it is not a starred review, is one of the best reviews I’ve ever received. And the best line is in the middle.
So without further ado, here it is:
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2009
Going, K.L. KING OF THE SCREWUPS
Popular, beautiful slacker Liam spends the majority of his time partying
and chasing girls instead of focusing on his studies. To keep him in
check, his dad kicks him out of the house and ships him off to live with
his gay glam-rocking uncle. Bad hair, tights, bitchy neighbors, reality
checks and fashion shows ensue. Going’s latest flows easily with smooth,
realistic dialogue and reads like a coming-out story for straight guys.
This innovative, out-of-the-box approach juxtaposes stereotypes,
received values, parental roles and masculinity in a jarringly fun and
approachable manner that marks a triumphant left-turn for the genre.
Cloaked as a story of tough love, this is actually a psychological
exploration of the impact of parental expectations versus the dreams of
their children. Nothing earned comes easy, however, and Liam finds that
he does need to switch some of the gears inside his head, but he’s not
as big of a screw-up as his parents make him out to be. Moreover,
trouble does follow him wherever he goes, but avoiding it is easier when
you’ve got the right kind of support. (Fiction. YA)