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.