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Castration Celebration Paperback – May 25, 2010

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


Olivia entered her suite to find a Barbie look-alike already there, listening to her iPod and dancing around the common room in impossibly short shorts and a midriff-baring T-shirt. When she spotted Olivia, she smiled hugely and pulled off her headphones. “Oh my God!” she squealed. “I know you. You were right in front of me in line before!”

“Small world,” Olivia said with a smirk.

“I’m Mimi,” Barbie said. “We’re the only ones here so far. You want to share a room with me?” She pointed to the bedroom on the left. “It’s a little bigger, I think.”

Oh God, Olivia thought. She looked toward the bedroom, but did not move.

“Plus it’s got better feng shooey, because the beds are farther from the door.”

Feng shooey? Olivia stifled a laugh. Just for the raw material Mimi would provide, maybe it would be worth it to share. And there really was no graceful way to turn down the offer without hurting Mimi’s feelings. “How can I say no to better feng shooey?” Olivia said, beginning to wheel her suitcase to the left.

Mimi followed her into the room. “How funny is it that we’re roommates and we checked in at exactly the same time? I mean, check-in is all day, so we could have come at any time. It’s like fate, or something, that we ended up roommates, don’t you think?”

Keep a straight face, Olivia told herself, and don’t say anything too sarcastic. She placed her suitcase flat next to her bed and began to unzip it. Maybe if she didn’t respond, Mimi would stop talking.

“I mean what are the chances that we’d be right next to each other at registration? Like a million to one, right?”

“Yeah, it’s a good thing I stopped to get drunk on the way here this morning,” Olivia blurted, “or we would have totally missed each other.”

“Are you serious?” Mimi’s eyes popped wide. “No, you’re kidding.”

“I probably shouldn’t drink when I’m on so many painkillers, but, hey, it’s summer, right?”

Mimi’s expression veered from amusement to serious concern, and Olivia burst out laughing.

“Oh my God!” Mimi squealed. “I totally believed you for a second!”

Olivia shook her head. “Don’t worry, I’m actually a pretty straight arrow. No drinking, no drugs, nothing illegal for me.”

“Well, that’s a relief.” Mimi plopped down on her bed and her voice took on a playful quality. “What about boys?”

“Definitely none of them,” Olivia said decisively.

“Get out!” Mimi shrieked. “Have you seen all the hot guys here?”

Olivia chuckled. Just her luck to get stuck with a nymphomaniac.

In the same dorm, one floor below, Max was unpacking when a tall, skinny guy with long hair walked into the room, wheeling a huge suitcase, wearing a backpack over one shoulder, and carrying a guitar.

“Hey,” Max said.

The guy gave a little nod. “What’s up?”

“I’m Max.”

“Zeke.” He dropped the backpack on the empty bed and leaned his guitar against the wall.

“You here for music?” Max asked.


Zeke opened his book bag, fished out a bottle of water, and took a big swig. Then he brushed his hair out of his face and lifted his suitcase onto the bed.

“You’d think with how much money we’re paying we’d get a bigger room, right?” Max said.

“At least some air-conditioning.”

“I know. This room’s like a fucking sauna.”

“You think any of the rooms have air-conditioning?” Zeke asked.

“If they do, I’m requesting a transfer. No offense.”

Max was actually feeling pretty happy about his roommate situation. For all he knew, he might have ended up with a violin prodigy named Vladimir, who practiced eight hours a day and was several years away from either Carnegie Hall or a complete nervous breakdown. Zeke, on the other hand, seemed like the kind of guy who would be up for almost anything. A young Joey Ramone.

“So,” Max said, pointing to Zeke’s guitar. “What kind of music do you play?”

Zeke brushed his hair back with his hands. “I don’t know. Mostly my own stuff, I guess.”

“You in a band?”

Zeke shook his head. “Used to be.”

“What happened?”

Zeke shrugged. “Lead singer kind of dropped out. Band just fell apart after that.”

Max put on his best TV voice. “They had everything going for them: a hit album, a sold-out concert tour, and a multi-record deal, but behind the scenes, trouble was brewing in paradise. In-fighting and drug abuse were threatening to pull the band apart, and when lead singer . . .” He reverted to his own voice. “What was your lead singer’s name?”

Zeke hesitated. “Devin Baines,” he said.

“And when lead singer Devin Baines overdosed on pain?killers just before a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden, it looked like the band’s days were numbered.”

“You watch too much VH1,” Zeke said, turning away.

“Probably,” Max agreed.

Zeke unzipped his suitcase, took out an iPod dock, and put it on the shelf of his desk. “You can use this,” he said, plugging it in, “but no Celine Dion when I’m in the room.”


Upstairs in Olivia and Mimi’s suite, the two remaining girls—Trish and Callie—had arrived, and the foursome was complete. At the moment, they were sitting two and two on the couches in the common room, and Mimi was gushing over Callie’s short, spiky hair and the multiple studs in each ear.

“It’s like so punk rock, you know. Do boys like that?”

Callie seemed mildly amused. “I wouldn’t know. I’ve never asked them.”

“Do you think I’d look good with short hair?” Mimi pulled her hair up and bunched it against the back of her head.

“With your body, you’d look good bald,” Trish said, folding her arms across her stomach.

“Shut up,” Mimi said delightedly. She jumped up and bounded into the bedroom to look in a mirror. A few seconds passed, and then she called, “What’s everyone wearing to dinner tonight?”

Olivia threw a knowing smile at Trish and Callie. “Pretty spectacular, isn’t she?”

Callie rolled her eyes.

“I wasn’t planning to change,” Trish said, as Mimi walked back into the room.

Olivia feigned shock. “You’re going to wear jeans and an oversize Yale T-shirt? With all the cute boys here?”

From the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Less creative and more crude than Wizner’s Spanking Shakespeare (2007), this envelope-pusher follows a raunchy group of teens through a summer at a Yale arts camp. Disappointed by the males in her life and fascinated by the concept of castration, Olivia creates the book’s titular musical as her project, drawing inspiration from her fellow campers’ over-the-top discussions and exploits. Most chapters end with a scene from Olivia’s work-in-progress, including the often quite clever (and graphic) lyrics to songs, such as “Horny” and “I’m in Love with Dick.” References to sex in all its forms and the lack of restraint on foul language will certainly shock some readers (particularly adults). Wizner skewers everything from classic children’s books (Pat the Bunny is reinterpreted from a very Freudian perspective) to High School Musical (clearly satirized on the book’s cover), and many older teens will appreciate the wild humor and the no-holds-barred look at what undoubtedly does happen at some summer camps. Grades 11-12. --Andrew Medlar --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375852166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375852169
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,229,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Olivia is going to Yale University for an art summer camp. After walking in on her dad with of his grad student, Olivia did her research and she has decided to write a musical called Castration Celebration. Olivia is influenced by her new friends, especially Max.
Max is a ladies man and wants to be together with Olivia. Max is totally not Olivia's type. Olivia and Max might just have something, but will Olivia let her emotions through? Will the play and real life end the same way?
I love Castration Celebration. I read it in about three hours. It was so funny and I could not stop laughing. This book didn't tip toe around sex. It jumped in to sex and it wasn't vulgar or trashy. It was the truth and I really respected Wizner for doing that. I also really like Olivia, I related to her at times and her development as a character was good. I really liked how the plot went between the main narrative and the script for the play. The play was hilarious and I loved the songs and dialogue in it. The writing was also good and I really like this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Olivia is seriously pissed at guys, and with good reason. She recently walked in on her dad fooling around with one of his grad students, but at least now she has a great topic for the musical she's writing at summer arts camp at Yale, a musical she's titled Castration Celebration. But Olivia's not prepared for when scenes from her play start to star her and a certain cute but cocky actor Max in real life. Even if Olivia is the least bit interested, she's not willing to trust Max since the only thing you can trust about a guy is that he'll be a guy--always looking for sex. While Olivia's not too sure of her feelings for Max, she does know she has to hang out with him once in a while for the raw material he provides for her musical; besides, he's just interesting. As the days heat up, so does this battle of the sexes. It's going to be one unforgettable summer for these teens.

Castration Celebration is a laugh-out-loud hilarious story somewhat reminiscent of Disney's High School Musical. The major difference between the two is that Castration Celebration is aimed at an older, more mature audience. The best thing about this novel is its somewhat raunchy and dirty humor; it's almost scary how the characters can find a sexual connotation in nearly everything. The plot of the novel is a seriously twisted romance made more interesting by being interspaced with scenes from Olivia's comedy and her original and very funny songs. The characters, I felt, could definitely have been working on. This novel is told from the third person perspective and offers insufficient insight into each character's mind. This made even the main characters less believable at times.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The forumla itself is simple - boy meets girl, both overcome obstacles in order to be with each other, and get to enjoy their happy ending, after learning a few life-lessons.

Simple in concept, enjoyably complex in execution - the story of Max's pursuit of Olivia is reflected over the course of the book in Olivia's own literary work-in-progress, the eponymous 'Castration Celebration' play, where the two main characters Dick and Jane echo their real-life counterparts. An additional echo is expressed in liberal doses of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing (Folger Shakespeare Library)," as Benedick and Beatrice's verbose flirtation refers right back up to the drama of the male and female protagonists both in Olivia's play and Olivia's life. There are layers to this story.

Jake Wizner manages to portray characters which are just stereotypical enough to be believable, without becoming boring or static. Although the situations aren't necessarily typical, they're easily recognizable and almost feel comfortable, easily digestible, and never tiresome. Although I've only read this book and Spanking Shakespeare, Shapiro's other recent work of fiction, it's easy to see that he's got real talent for setting the stage and developing his characters.

Also, there are a few details that feel almost like cameo appearances - the main character is named Max, a name which the author reportedly nearly ended up being given at birth. Also, this book, like his previous one, features a character named Shakespeare.

Finally, MAJOR SPOILER: no one gets castrated in this novel, despite the fact that in Imperial China, eunuchs had their testicles, penis, and scrotum removed, then preserved in alcohol.
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Format: Hardcover
Olivia has had it with men!

After walking in on her dad fooling around with a grad student, Olivia decides that she must write a musical to express her outrage at the situation. Yale University's summer arts camp is the perfect place to craft her masterpiece. Olivia's musical is aptly titled Castration Celebration.

She tries to sequester herself in her dorm suite and finish the daunting task put before her, but Olivia's suite mates aren't going to let her hide out for long. Neither will the handsome Max, a fledgling actor who almost killed Olivia on the first day of camp.

Max is bound and determined to win Olivia's heart - come hell, high water, or castration!

Wizner has written an outrageously funny novel that focuses on the battle of the sexes. High school kids will appreciate how candid the author is with his use of language. Some may feel that it is a bit explicit, but I think that all who read this novel will find the humor in it.

This book would be best enjoyed lounging by the pool with a frosty beverage in hand. A perfect summer read!

Reviewed by: LadyJay
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