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I Love You, Beth Cooper Paperback – May 8, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Former TV writer and magazine editor Doyle frenetically chronicles in his debut a long night of goofy teenage antics. After concluding he has nothing to lose, geekazoid valedictorian Denis Cooverman declares, during his graduation speech, his love for Beth Cooper, the way hot chief cheerleader. He is amazed to discover Beth is not completely repulsed by his feelings for her, although her army boyfriend, Kevin, is enraged. Beth, implausibly, later shows up at Denis's graduation party with two interchangeable sidekicks, Cammy and Treece. The party comprises exactly two guests, Denis (aka "The Coove") and his possibly gay best friend, Rich. Once Denis and Rich recover from the shock of being in the presence of pretty girls, they attempt to party, but the awkward celebration is cut short when Kevin arrives with his bruiser friends. Denis and Co. make their first of what will be several escapes, the circumstances of each providing Denis with evidence that Beth isn't the flawless goddess he'd imagined her to be. Overly rapid pacing, unlikely turns of events and quirky, funny dialogue reveal Doyle's TV roots (he has written for The Simpsons and Beavis and Butt-head). Doyle wrings from his typecast crew just enough teenage agony and ecstasy to keep readers interested. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Speaking in "the stilted manner of adolescent public speakers throughout history," and sweating so profusely that he develops a "groin pool," Denis Cooverman interrupts his high-school valedictory address to say what's truly on his mind: "I love you, Beth Cooper." His confession kicks off this outrageously funny novel, set during a single graduation night that Denis miraculously spends with the object of his desire, a head cheerleader who, for the first time, registers his existence. Doyle has written for Beavis and Butt-Head and The Simpsons, making it no surprise that his first novel both celebrates and mercilessly satirizes all things teen with razor-sharp humor: "The sullen girl sang, wringing fresh bitterness from the already alkaline lyrics." The homage to teen movies is obvious, from the stock characters and scenarios (including the ubiquitous naked-drunk-girls scene) to direct quotes from legendary teen-film characters. It's the nonstop jokes and wry, uproarious descriptions that set this apart, and like the shows Doyle has helped create, the text is filled with phrases ("benevolent cliquetator") and lines readers will savor. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: AWARDS: ALA Best Books for Young Adults 2008
  • Paperback: 255 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; First Edition edition (May 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061236179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061236174
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,824,399 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Larry Doyle was born on planet earth. He is a primate. Further mostly accurate information can be found at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on June 9, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Larry Doyle's "I Love You, Beth Cooper" takes a novel type (the coming-of-age story) and manages to work in equal amounts of pathos and hilarity without detriment to either. What you need to know about the main characters is that Denis Cooverman is class valedictorian and captain of the debate team (he speaks "nine languages, three of them real") and Beth Cooper is the head cheerleader. As another reviewer has noted, if you thought high school was the be-all and end-all of your life, skip it. If you're one of the rest of us, get this book right now!

Denis decides to declare his love for Beth (who scarcely knows he's alive--their only contact has been from being seated alphabetically next to each other in class) from the podium at their high school graduation. From that moment, at the very beginning, the comedy comes fast and furious, starting with the response Denis prepares to Beth, depending on whether her reaction to his oath of love is positive or negative:

POSITIVE: "Then we agree."

NEGATIVE: "It's my medication."

Some of the hundreds of great lines from the novel include:

"Denis jerked his face to the side--universal body language for 'Yes, I was staring at you'--while maintaining his casual yet defiant pose against the wall. It made him look like a male underwear model, except not."

"Denis thrust his hands back into the closet, praying they would reappear holding anything resembling a weapon. A loaded revolver would be ideal, though unlikely (his mother felt hunters should be tried for war crimes and his father drove a Prius)."

"Rich [Denis's best friend] chafed at Denis's brain ruining all their fun . . .
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kun on May 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
One of the most enjoyable, entertaining books I've read in a long, long time. I read the book in two sittings, finishing up at 4 a.m. this morning. I laughed my way throughout, to the dismay of my wife who I'm afraid was trying to sleep. This is a funny, fast-paced read, and I was actually more than a bit sad to see it end, which is always the sign of an excellent book. I hope it finds the large audience it deserves.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
As other reviewers have said, this book is hilarious. The broad plot (high school geek gets a fun, crazy, intermittently painful night with the head cheerleader) is just the skeleton on which Doyle is hanging all his spot-on, extremely funny observations about modern life (teen and otherwise).

I started this on a plane and kept disturbing my seatmate by laughing out loud. The descriptions remind me a lot of David Sedaris.

It's a great gift for grads ~ but don't think of it as *just* a teen book. Anybody who has been to high school will enjoy it.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Comedy is the hardest genre to write, whether it's for the page or the screen. Doyle's worked on both The Simpsons and Beavis and Butt-Head, so he's clearly got the chops for TV, and this book proves he's got 'em for the page as well. Although I love comic fiction, it usually tends to leave me pretty unsatisfied, often tending to be satire of the "shooting-fish-in-a-barrel" variety, whereby the situations are stale and the jokes obvious. Here, Doyle takes a familiar setup (perhaps it might qualify as a subgenre) -- the last day/night of high school -- and goes to town with it in a ridiculously over-the-top manner that will leave readers looking for laughs well satisfied. It's something along the lines of "American Graffiti" meet "Freaks and Geeks" meets "Better Off Dead."

The story kicks off with the nerdy hero Denis Cooverman (aka Penis, aka The Coove) delivering his high school valedictorian speech in a sweltering gym. The thing is, his best (and only) friend Rich, a walking database of movie quotes, has convinced him to toss his milquetoast speech in favor of some home truths. And thus the speech becomes a trainwreck of thinly veiled insults, retribution, and outing of classmates, climaxing with Denis's declaration of love for the head cheerleader. This serves as the catalyst for a wild night of many wacky and/or illegal antics which are clearly not condoned, but are laugh-out-loud funny (including three sexual acts whose slang names I had to Google to decode).

If this doesn't sound particularly original, that's because it isn't. But comedy is all in the execution, and Doyle loads each page with gags, sharp banter, great wordplay, and all manner of acid observations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Araujo on July 17, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm not really a jock. Actually, it's more like I do no sports at all. Except running. Only away from psycho boyfriends of hot girls, but that only comes later. I'm more or less a geek. Still, pretty much a nobody.

But, it's my High School graduation and that won't matter because I'll be going to College and won't see any of these people again until our High School reunion. Right?

About that, one little problem. I kind of messed up. You see there's this hot girl who is head cheerleader in my class called Beth Cooper, and as I was giving my speech because I'm valedictorian for my class, of course, I kind of blurted out a word or two. In front of every student and their families. Something along the lines of,

"I love you, Beth Cooper."

That's exactly what happened to Denis Cooverman in this hilarious novel. Poor little Denis. After that one, teeny tiny sentence, his whole life turned upside-down. Not only does he get to hang out with the hottest girl of his class and her two friends, but he's doing things he's never done before. Drinking, driving, going to parties, and running away from Beth's military boyfriend who wants to kill him. Literally.

And! This is all during what his parents think is a small get together at their house. (They are off doing something we shall not want to know in a car in the middle of the road that Denis, Beth and their friends hit in the middle of their adventure.) What a mouthful, but it completely makes him a badass.

For those of you who think this novel is just another teen hormonal adventure, you're completely right. This is exactly what teens today feel like. And it's not about the hot people.
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