Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player

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Overview

I feel like I'm about to pass out, but that won't do much for my new reputation as a non-dork, so I bury my head in the Book instead. There's not much there, really—just the senior portrait of every girl in my class, and below each photo, space for me to record her measurements—once I get her measurements, that is.

From his flute-playing prowess to his nerdy reputation, Kevin Mopsely epitomizes uncool. When popular jock Brandon Trent appoints Kevin to compile the Book of Busts—a...

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Busted: Confessions of an Accidental Player

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Overview

I feel like I'm about to pass out, but that won't do much for my new reputation as a non-dork, so I bury my head in the Book instead. There's not much there, really—just the senior portrait of every girl in my class, and below each photo, space for me to record her measurements—once I get her measurements, that is.

From his flute-playing prowess to his nerdy reputation, Kevin Mopsely epitomizes uncool. When popular jock Brandon Trent appoints Kevin to compile the Book of Busts—a record of the bust, waist, and hip measurements of every senior girl—Kevin fears he's out of his league. The Book, however, is the key to his popularity, so Kevin accepts the challenge—uncovering much more than he bargained for in the process.

Busted is a hilarious and provocative debut that tackles the intricate issues of first love, testosterone-laden peer pressure, feminism, and "GRRL power" with a fresh and unique voice that will appeal to both male and female teenage readers.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Lucy Schall
When senior nerd Kevin Mopsely tries for popularity, he collides with his family, true friends, secret love, favorite teacher, the school "babes," and the bully "jocks," until he discovers that being himself is more satisfying than being cool. Brandon Trent, a manipulative bully, leads the senior boys in The Graduation Rituals, traditional cruel and exploitive anti-girl activities. Kevin's assignment, the Book of Busts, requires him to record every senior girl's measurements, including his best friend's. The English teacher invites Kevin's mother, a women's studies professor, to teach an elective class, and "Grrl power" emerges. The popular girls manipulate Kevin, his best friend stops speaking to him, and his mother sends him to his estranged father, a pitiful alcoholic who spends his time harassing waitresses at Hooters. Realizing that his father is an older Brandon, Kevin reforms, gives the girls the Book of Busts to burn, and supports their revenge. By prom time, the seniors are seeing individual people rather than labels, Kevin is learning about strong boy/girls relationships, and a drunk, obnoxious Brandon is thrown out of school. As in Gabriel Zevin's Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007/VOYA October 2007), this novel addresses high school popularity, true love, and fractured families. The strong language and the provocative bedroom scene in which Kevin's girlfriend considers making love to him could be controversial, but John uses and breaks teen stereotypes with wit and plot twists. Even though the story has cross-gender appeal for senior high readers, it may not draw a male audience. Reviewer: Lucy Schall
School Library Journal

Gr 8-10

High school senior Kevin Mopsely holds the first-chair flute position in the school band and has a knack for alienating pretty girls. So it comes as a huge surprise to everyone when überjock and alpha male Brandon Trent appoints him to an important role in the Graduation Rituals. Kevin's been made the compiler of the Book of Busts, a notebook that purports to contain years of measurements of every girl in every graduating class. On one level, he is thrilled to find himself in a previously unreachable echelon of high school society, but as the son of a women's studies professor, he knows that it's wrong to treat his female classmates so disrespectfully, especially as he finds himself falling for his sweet, smart, funny best friend, Abby. This novel begins on a high note in the opening chapter, as John uses a light and humorous touch to delineate the friendship between geeks-of-a-feather Kevin and Abby. The rest of the novel is far less satisfying, however; the author's depiction of an American high school rings false in almost every respect, and the characters are flat, stereotyped, and, except where it serves the machinations of the plot, one-dimensional. The message about feminism and respect between the sexes is certainly a valuable one, but teens will be turned off by the plot's too-obvious lessons and moralizing tone.-Meredith Robbins, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, New York City

Kirkus Reviews
Flute-playing band loser Kevin unexpectedly ups his mojo but loses respect when superjock Brandon Trent signs him on to compile The Book of Busts, a secret notebook that lists the body measurements of all the girls who go to the school. Soon, all the young women around him are either racing to date him or hate him, and Kevin finds he has to choose between doing the right thing-chucking the book, obviously-or maintaining his newfound popularity. Sexual innuendos run amuck in the first few pages of this well-meaning but tepid comedic battle of the sexes. John's caricatures of Brandon's friends are hilariously dead on, especially when the dialogue between them is nothing more than "Dude. Like. Whoa." It's these smaller elements and the supporting cast that keep the plot from getting too heavy, and readers won't latch onto the feminism-fueled plot so much as Kevin himself as he squirms between getting all the girls he dreams about and being honest with the one girl he actually wants. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738713731
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 264
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: HL810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Antony John (Seattle) was born in England and raised on a balanced diet of fish and chips, obscure British comedies, and ABBA's greatest hits. In a pique of teenage rebellion, he decided to pursue a career in classical music, culminating in a BA from Oxford University and a Ph.D. from Duke University.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    Awesome

    I only read the sample and I was in love with the book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Rebecca Wells for TeensReadToo.com

    Brookbank High is a typical high school, complete with jocks, cheerleaders, and social misfits, including one Kevin Mopsely.

    Kevin has the misfortune of playing the flute - and playing it well. He has never been popular, until an accidental encounter with the senior class's infamous Graduation Rituals committee leaves him in charge of compiling the notorious Book of Busts, a book containing the physical measurements of each girl in the senior class.

    Suddenly, Kevin finds himself in with an entirely new crowd, and he's finding that his newfound popularity isn't quite what it's cracked up to be. It seems as though everyone is beginning to hate him, including his best friend, Abby White, a girl with whom he just might be in love.

    Can he figure out how to make things right before it's too late?

    Antony John plunges the reader deep into the treacherous waters of high school with this lighthearted book. His characters are genuine, and his dialogue is quick and snappy. While some situations appear contrived, and the plot progresses predictably, BUSTED remains an entertaining and fun read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2009

    FUN READ!

    I enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, but the characters were interesting and I liked the ending! I'm looking forward to Antony John's next book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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