Author: Mark Goldblatt
Source: Received for review from Netgalley
Release Date: 5/28/2013
Description from Goodreads:
It’s not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .
Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade–blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.
Inspired by Mark Goldblatt’s own childhood growing up in 1960s Queens, Twerp shines with powerful writing that will have readers laughing and crying right along with these flawed but unforgettable characters.
I received this book for review from the publisher via Netgalley.
I had never heard of Twerp or Mark Goldblatt. However, I was browsing on Netgalley and thought that the description sounded interesting, so I requested it. I went into it with an open mind, but I was unfortunately unimpressed.
Twerp is written as a series of journal entries written by Julian, as an opportunity to get out of writing an essay on Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. I’m not a fan of this writing style. I’m not really sure why, as in theory, it’s not much different from any other book written in first person narrative, but it definitely reads differently to me.
Also, I did not find the characters to be very likable. Julian seems like he knows the right thing to do in many situations but is pretty much a follower. His friend, Lonnie, is the leader of the group, and overall, doesn’t seem like a very nice guy. He seems very able to manipulate Julian into doing things he doesn’t want to do, and it leads to situations that I guess are supposed to be amusing or thought-provoking, but they just made me cringe and want to smack Julian for not standing up for himself.
Throughout Twerp, I felt like Julian couldn’t catch a break. He just seemed to keep making stupid choices that led to stupid consequences. He does seem to redeem himself a bit towards the end of the book, but definitely not enough to make me like him.
Twerp wasn’t horrible, though. Other than when I thought one scene was going in a different direction than it did, I never considered DNF’ing it. I just wasn’t really as invested as I could have been.
I think Twerp would be appealing to people who like this writing style. It was fairly reminiscent of The Perks of Being a Wallflower to me, which I was also not a fan of. However, I know that a lot of people did really like that book, so they might like Twerp, too. I’m rating it as okay.