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Wise Young Fool Hardcover – August 6, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316203793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316203791
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Smash your Stratocaster, pop the devil horns, and bite the head off a bat—this headbanger is so right-on with passion and detail that you’ll be smelling the garage-band funk and feeling the bass rattle your teeth. Eighteen-year-old Ritchie Sudden is stuck in juvie and tasked with journaling how he got there. In short: girls, music, and some bullshit trauma that Ritchie doesn’t even want to talk about. It starts, as always, with best bud Elliot Hella, he of the shaved head and thick muttonchops, whose go-nowhere life hinges upon winning a big-time battle of the bands. El Hella and Ritchie have the requisite crappy equipment and sloppy chops to make hardcore history—all they need is a drummer, a singer, and a badass band name. (“Sin Sistermouth” ain’t cutting it.) Beaudoin is the Fred Astaire of comic writing, translating each sentence into a manic dance routine of half-invented jargon (“chewing the profunda-cud”) on his way to blessedly noncloying coming-of-age glory. The book is hugely generous: in sex, in violence, in attitude, and especially in heart, as Ritchie gets it through his thick skull what punk really means. And the performance scenes? Dude. If you can’t grok the monster energy of these glorious idiots flailing around onstage, you’re already dead. Grades 9-12. --Daniel Kraus

Review

* "Beaudoin is the Fred Astaire of comic writing, translating each sentence into a manic dance routine of half-invented jargon ("chewing the profunda-cud") on his way to blessedly non-cloying coming-of-age glory."—Booklist (starred review)

*"The author does a brilliant job getting into the head of a troubled teen and does not shy away from racy topics."—School Library Journal (starred review)

"Larger-than-life characters....Behind the music quest, sarcasm and pursuit of girls, however, lies a more complicated and often compelling story about family, grief and flawed coping mechanisms."
Kirkus

"[Beaudoin] plays language like Hendrix plays a guitar."—BCCB

More About the Author

Sean Beaudoin enjoys typing about himself in the third person, as if some underfed intern were writing his bio for him. He wrote Going Nowhere Faster, Fade To Blue, and You Killed Wesley Payne strictly for cash, but his new book, The Infects, was a zombie labor of love. Sean's short stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The Onion, The San Francisco Chronicle, and Spirit-the inflight magazine of Southwest Airlines. He has since been awarded free cocktail peanuts for life. Sean is also one of the founding editors of TheWeeklings.com, which is hands-down the most influential site on the internet.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
The language can be foul but it is always real and always hilarious.
Sloaty
Beaudoin's prose crackles on every page, and I found myself laughing out loud and stopping often to read passages to my wife.
Richard Cox
This book deals in a totally real way with fighting, sex, friendship...a lot of teen guy stuff.
a to the g

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Sattin on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I bought this for the cover, know what I mean. All black, like a ripped old journal or whatever, and a guitar on the side. My sort of crap. It's way different than the usual debutantes and vampires and such so I thought I'd get into it. Original cover probably means original book, no? Not all the time, but in this case, yes. A big yes. I haven't ready many books like this before. Or maybe any. 1. Out-loud funny. 2. Handles music well. 3. Handles "Big issue" stuff like Sex, Family, Death, Incarceration straight on, like a car crash. Like a great song, metal or punk or hip-hop. 4. Love the characters. Ritchie is a wiseass who is totally oblivious to how he comes across, but sure finds out. 5. Love how Adults are handled. In most YA they're either ridiculously bad or sugar-sweet. These adults are just like the ones I had--a mix of good, bad, and strange. The best adult in the whole book is Ritchie's Mom's girlfriend, who is no prop, she's also one of the most interesting characters. Basically, every sophomore in hgih school in America should read this book. To laugh, but also to wisen up, you know? See what not to do. And how not to do it, cause you get to stand back and watch someone be a Fool for 300 pgs, right in front of you. Totally entertaining, really original. I'm keeping this one close to my heart.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Henry E. Kyburg on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hahahahahahaha. Could just keep going. NO WAY is there a funnier book out this year. And mainly cause it's not trying to be funny. It's just that when you right characters the way they really are instead of trying to cram them into some fantasy plot or whatever, they fall flat. Ritchie Sudden is so really I can SMELL him. Still. Nothing happens in this book. It doesn't have to. It's like cutting pictures and words right out of a year of the dudes brains and then watching it on Netflix. I give up on most YA twenty pages in. It's all just the same junk over and over again. Wise Young Fool is like the sun bursting through the clouds and baking away all the fakeness. This is, like, Moby Dick. It's the bible. If I had this when I was 16 I would have RULED HIGH SCHOOL. Maybe even the world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sloaty on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read every one of Sean Beaudoin's books and really enjoyed all four, but Wise Young Fool, his fifth novel, is truly his best. The prose is fluid, the hilarity is constant, and the characters are memorable. We all knew somebody like Ritchie Sudden, and he strides and slouches though the book with the exact attitude that teenagers wear like a coat - somehow admirable and infuriating every step of the way. As someone who teaches high school kids, I can attest that they smell a fake a mile away. This book passes the sniff test. The language can be foul but it is always real and always hilarious. Kids drink, hook up, swear up a storm, and do stupid stuff . . . because that's exactly what kids at that age do . . . well, most of them do, but why would you want to read a book about the boring ones who follow all the rules? As for the music, it is evident to any musician that Beaudoin not only knows his rock history, but he has spent some time behind a guitar as well. There are no bent notes or dropped picks or moments of pretending. Anyone who has been in a band - particularly a teenage punk band - will relish the excitement and anticipation that the author generates. Add in family drama and the squalid sorrow of our juvenile justice system and you have a book that rocks you on a number of levels. Oh, did I mention that it's fun and funny as hell too? This is an exceptionally good book - not just insightful and smart, but a great read. How often does that happen? Highly, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a to the g on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Man, I just laughed my butt off all the way through this. Every single page has some smart observation or clever reference or rude comment that kept making me bust up. I'd read the stuff out loud to my friends and they kept being like "okay, let's hear another one." But that would get tiring if that's all it was. This book deals in a totally real way with fighting, sex, friendship...a lot of teen guy stuff. But girl stuff, too. None of the girls are doormats like in a lot of guy books. They're totally there, holding their own. There is no pretending in this book, it's all sweat, going down to the mat, tattoos and guitars and distortion.
But also just goofing around with friends, trying to talk to a girl at a party, wondering if you're cool enough. It's like someone's real diary. Which (spoiler) maybe it is. I was totally pissed when it ended, I wanted another hundred pages more!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ian Brady on August 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I hate books about bands. They never get the music parts right. It's like movies where someone supposedly plays guitar but you can tell the actor has never picked up a Strat in his life. Not Wise Young Fool! I swear, this may be the only book I've ever read where you can practically taste the distortion. It's frickin' real! So are the characters, who feel like they walked out of my extended family and sat down next to me. This book really captures what it feels like to be an angry teenager starting his first band. Beaudoin really knows how to nail the mood and attitudes of that age. It's like I was reading a novel about my own life. It's also funny as hell, loud and hard and just like standing in crowd at a show. Even the love story part refuses to be fake. Sorta genius really. Best thing I've read all year.
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