The book begins and ends with two excruciating events. The first: a bar mitzvah boy with food poisoning vomits all over the bimah. The final episode is not unexpected but heart wrenching. In between, there is chaos. Isaac is not the barfer, but his ceremony is fast approaching, and he’s freaked out. When Isaac’s parents leave on a trip three weeks before the event, 20-year-old Josh, a recent college dropout, is put in charge of brother Isaac and their younger sister. (BTW, no mother decides to vacation a few weeks before a bar mitzvah, but as a plot device, it works.) Isaac’s raunchy, riotous first-person telling describes how hot-tempered Josh decides to help Isaac really become a man. There are tests of strength, will, and courage, though some are decidedly inside out. There’s first love, first kisses, first fights, friendships made and friendships broken, a fire, and a party to end all parties. Rubens, a former producer for The Daily Show, neatly gets inside Isaac’s head, and although there’s something to offend almost everyone here, there’s also plenty to think—and laugh—about. Grades 8-10. --Ilene Cooper
"This is a book every bar-mitzvah boy will want to steal . . . Everyone should read it the moment he becomes a man."
"Rubens creates a funny, frank portrayal of adolescent humiliation and the trouble with older brothers."
"Rubens neatly gets inside Isaac's head, and although there's something to offend almost everyone here, there's also plenty to think—and laugh—about as well."
"Rubens captures the nerdy geekiness of middle-school-aged boys in short and snappy, cleverly formatted chapters rich with sarcasm, humor, and pathos."
—School Library Journal