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My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan Hardcover – January 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Justin has a plan: begin dating someone, enjoy his first kiss, and achieve popularity, including a seat at the Cool U lunch table. His crush is Chuck, ex-boyfriend of Becky, who has been forbidden by her father to date the football star (though they are still an item in secret). So Justin agrees to fake being Becky’s new beau in order to be close to Chuck, in spite of his best friend Spencer’s advice and in complete denial of Chuck’s obvious heterosexuality. “Dating” Becky gains Justin popularity, but is the facade worth the cost? Rudetsky has created a funny, insecure, and in some ways stereotypical gay young man, out of the closet but still not sure of who he is and what he wants. Readers will figure out the plan’s end long before Justin, but that won’t remove the appeal for those readers who identify with him. Grades 7-10. --Melissa Moore

About the Author

SETH RUDETSKY is the Broadway host, seven days a week, on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. As a pianist, Seth has played for more than a dozen Broadway shows including Ragtime, Les Miz, and Phantom.  He was the Artistic Producer/Music Director for the first five annual Actors Fund Fall Concerts including Dreamgirls with Audra MacDonald and Hair with Jennifer Hudson. In 2007 he made his Broadway acting debut in The Ritz and has also appeared on TV in Law And Order Criminal Intent.  As an author, he penned the books The Q Guide To Broadway, now in it's third printing, and the recently published Broadway Nights which was just released as an audio book on audible.com featuring Andrea Martin, Jonathan Groff and Kristin Chenoweth. He currently writes a weekly column on Playbill.com. Check out Seth's Sassy Blog at sethrudetsky.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375869158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869150
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,816,420 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on January 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I think it is best if you read this book with the voice and cadence of Seth Rudetsky in your head. You can listen to him on SiriusXM Radio or on youtube. Meet Justin Goldblatt, Broadway musical-theatre obsessed high school sophomore, son of a doctor - a real brain in biology - slightly neurotic, butt of bullies and mean jokes. He has a 35 waist and a jew-fro, a best friend, and a crush on the high school football star, Chuck. Chuck is a douche, but he has blue eyes, blonde hair, and doesn't even know that Justin exists, even though they have had classes together and Justin appears in the youtube video of Chuck and Becky making out in the boys' locker room (when Justin walks into the scene in just his towel after taking a rare shower at school) Justin thinks that the day the Tony Award nominations come out should be a school holiday. (Coincidentally, this book was released on Tuesday morning, January 24, the day the Oscar nominations were made)

Justin is out and gay in high school, so, of course, just as on the television series, GLEE, he is prey for bullies, who call him Fag or Fag-nesium (in Science class). He just accepts it and the label, until best friend Spencer tells him it is as bad as being called Kike. Any-who... Justin's goals this year are to be popular and snag Chuck as a bf. He can be popular if he can make 8.3 new friends a day, or at least be nice to even the nerdy kids in the lunch room. Maybe he will strive for 8.6 a day.

And then, after detention one day (he got it when he heard that Chuck got it and would be there), and after eaves dropping on Chuck and Becky (they say that they are broken up, but their text messages tell a different story), Justin launches a plan (and a stage kiss that he and Becky learned in Drama class) that can have him date Becky as a front for Chuck, get him closer to Chuck, and maybe achieve his goals... right? RIGHT?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan on June 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am always on a lookout for a funny, gay fiction. I came across Seth's books and I was intrigued by the often high ratings his books received. So, I grabbed this and Broadway.

It was an amazing read - joyful, funny, ridiculous-but-acceptable ride. It was amazing how plots turned and flowed well. The ending felt like a Disney movie, where everything was turned out well and to an extent, explained. It was done nicely that I did not mind much.

Just that I kept thinking of Trevor, the plumb kid in the Academy Award winning short film - 'Trevor'. Just that Trevor was an innocent gay kid, but Justin was wicked. Wickedly funny.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Katy Ritchey on May 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I downloaded the book after seeing it mentioned in Entertainment Weekly and I was not disappointed. I looked forward to picking this book up and tuning out from my reality every evening after work. Fun to read and enjoyable throughout.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Rau on June 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A few weeks back I heard just the ending of Seth's interview on NPR's "Fresh Air." I was hooked. I watch Seth all the time on YouTube and wanted to see his humor and insights turned into fiction. He did it. I laughed out LOUD (guffawed) several times while reading and could not put it down. Read it in one sitting, although in different chairs if you must know, but really enjoyed the characters. It reads as fast as Seth talks, so it's a fast and furious albeit delightful ride back to those terrible yet wonderful high school years. It was a little like reading "Forever" (and remember how thrilling that was back in the day) with a refreshing gay twist. About time. Thank you Seth. Write On!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GoJoe18 on May 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is hilarious and real. Seth has written a story that is inspiring and tells the tale of a high school sophomore who just wants to be popular (well, who didn't?). A great story for kids who feel like they don't fit in! The story will inspire and amaze them!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed Seth Rudetsky's humorous Young Adult novel. Awesome/Awful is fun, entertaining read; not a guide for surviving high school. Having spent nearly 15 years in the public school system, I've come to know these student 'types' pretty well. Not to say that all the characters are stereotypical, they each have their own unique qualities, strengths and weaknesses; that set them apart as individuals and make them interesting. Teen angst comes in many forms and Rudetsky does a great job of exploring that here.

Though Awesome/Awful has an overall positive LGBT message, it's not a preachy or agenda-driven book. Are there lessons that can be learned from it? Yes, of course- but I believe Rudetsky's goal here was to tell an entertaining story, not jump up on a soapbox and preach.

It's hard to review it with complete objectivity- being familiar with Rudetsky and his public persona- both on stage and on the radio. The novel is written and reads the way he (Rudetsky) speaks in public. Someone unfamiliar, may find a totally different experience, finding the rhythm and patter of written word. I heard Rudetsky's voice in my head from the first to the last word on the page.

Like Rudetsky, the character of Justin is an original. The way he thinks, what he says and does; always has a perspective that many might not think to see, on their own- or in the same light. Justin is on a journey of self discovery and trying to find his place; or, create his desired place in his school. His wacky perspective and attempts at love and popularity are both engaging and endearing, no matter how misguided they might be.

In the end, the characters learn something about themselves, without letting go of their individuality.
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