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Extreme Elvin

Extreme Elvin

3.2 4
by Chris Lynch

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Elvin Bishop is fourteen — an official Young Adult (and you know that one was dreamed up by an old adult). Having barely survived the sports camp that he and his best friends, Frankie and Mikie, attended in Slot Machine, Elvin is actually ready for high school to begin. Or so he thinks.

Suddenly, Elvin's hurled into a whole new social scene,


Elvin Bishop is fourteen — an official Young Adult (and you know that one was dreamed up by an old adult). Having barely survived the sports camp that he and his best friends, Frankie and Mikie, attended in Slot Machine, Elvin is actually ready for high school to begin. Or so he thinks.

Suddenly, Elvin's hurled into a whole new social scene, where relationships — the right relationships — are the name of the game.

Leave it to Elvin to fall hard for exactly the wrong kind of girl — the kind of girl who is definitely not a part of any guy's cool plan. And that's just the beginning of his problems. Because what happens when everything that used to be so simple — like friendship—changes?

With an appetite that forces him to shop at the Big and Tall, a mother who still talks to her long-dead husband, and a nasty case of hemorrhoids, is becoming cool something that someone like Elvin can even pull off?

In this second book about Elvin, Chries Lynch has written the love story to end all love stories — and a multilayered look at the hysterical trials and tribulations of one guy's introductions to Young Adulthood. The entire cast of Slot Machine is back: good-looking, popular Frankie; dependable Mikie; the ominous Senior Boys; and the sarcastic and loving Mrs. Bishop. This time, though, there are girls on the scene, and Elvin, who can keep on laughing when faced with an embarrassing mother, a menacing bully, ownership of the ugliest dog on the planet, and an adolescent case of hemorrhoids, confronts his biggest challenge yet: He's in love. Welcome to high school, where relationships, the right relationships,are the name of the game. Heartsick, heady, and hilarious, here are the hazards and halcyon moments of the intricate high school social sceneand the love story to end all love stories as only Chris Lynch could write them.

00-01 Tayshas High School Reading List

Author Biography: Chris Lynch is the author of several highly acclaimed books for young adults, including Iceman, Shadow Boxer, and Slot Machne, all ALA Best Books for Young Adults and ALA Recommended Books for Young Readers, as well as Extreme Elvin.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a starred review, PW called this novel featuring the wisecracking, irrepressible narrator of Slot Machine "witty and knowing." Ages 12-up. (Jan.)n Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Jackie Hechtkopf
In this sequel to the popular Slot Machine, Elvin Bishop is back with his two lifelong friends, Mike and Frank. Elvin is fourteen now, a freshmen at an all-boys Catholic high school, and neurotic as ever. His primary concern at this juncture of his life is popularity. But how can an overweight boy with hemorrhoids become popular? Elvin wonders if popularity is like a piece of clothing, if "it just hangs better on one person than it does on another?" Fortunately, Elvin has two fabulous allies in Mike and Frank. They coach him along every step of the way, showing him what clothes to wear, which girls to approach, and how to behave around Darth, the school bully. Trouble comes when Elvin is compelled to follow his own heart, regardless of what it costs him. Elvin's exaggerated, overanxious point of view will make kids laugh out loud. Teachers will appreciate the underlying theme of true friendship. Like its predecessor Slot Machine, this book should make it to the recommended lists of books popular with young adults.
Elvin's story began in the author's Slot Machine, but it isn't necessary to have read it in order to appreciate this sequel. Elvin is a 14-year-old who is struggling with his weight, his friends, and his mother. Elvin's father is long dead but that doesn't stop his mother from carrying on conversations with him, to her son's dismay. Elvin is in his freshman year at a Catholic boys' high school. He is in a constant state of turmoil, battling everything from hemorrhoids to masturbation. He hooks up with the wrong kind of girl and humorous escapades follow, including an encounter with a basset hound that initially is considered overweight and lazy, but turns out to be very pregnant. Some of the humor is raunchy, which will certainly appeal to this age group and especially to the male population. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, HarperCollins, 234p, 18cm, 98-28820, $5.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Sherri Forgash Ginsberg; Chapel Hill, NC, May 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 3)
School Library Journal
(Gr 8-10) -- Elvin Bishop's story, begun in Slot Machine (HarperCollins, 1995), continues, but there is no need to read that book first. Here readers meet Elvin during the opening weeks of his freshman year of high school, a time when his since-kindergarten friendships with Mikie (aka "Dad") and smooth-talking Frankie undergo the tests of each guy's changing perceptions of important. Elvin's widowed mother is always there for her chubby, uncertain son and yet she is, of course, completely willing to embarrass him for his own good. Elvin is smart enough to keep her in ignorance about his hemorrhoids and tentative enough to let her arrange his first official date. Elvin's realization of the value of girls to the species is humorously and credibly threaded throughout the plot but romance isn't the theme here so much as benevolence. Benevolence's shadow is suitably portrayed by evil upperclassmen whose torture repertoire is heavy on threats and insinuations, but also includes extortion and disconcerting applications of petroleum jelly-based salves and alcoholic beverages. This is a funny, insightful, and wholly engaging novel that addresses many of the worst fears of adolescent boys without preaching. It is possible to be just like Elvin and still laugh at his numerous follies. His story makes a great booktalk but will also prove popular enough to pass from reader to reader without adult intervention.
--Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Pudgy, frantic Elvin, introduced in Slot Machine (1995), takes a hilarious, roller-coaster plunge into Young Adulthood. Going, perhaps, where no YA author has gone before, Lynch afflicts his hero with hemorrhoids (" 'It shows?' No, you could have a squirrel down your pants making you walk that way' "), then heaps on the stress by having him lock eyes with friendly, Junoesque Barbara and hold hands with Sally, a dazzler who later, as a practical joke, announces that she has scabies. The ensuing rumors that she gave him an STD gives him a social leg up, plus a party invitation from Darth, a smooth, menacing teen Svengali. Supported by a cast of familiar types, led by his sensitive but not entirely earnest mother, Elvin struggles desperately to keep his balance in the rush of events - and fails. His exaggerated emotional highs and lows drive Barbara away (not forever, one hopes) and turn the party into a complete personal disaster. Lynch opts to end on a downswing, with Elvin miserably hiding out in the garage licking his wounds, but readers will be breathless-not only from laughter and the story's headlong pace, but from the author's audacity in his choice of topics for comic inquiry. (Fiction. 12-15) .

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.83(w) x 8.55(h) x 1.01(d)
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 15 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Original Equipment

So, how many relationships is a person supposed to be able to manage anyway?

And that's the first thing right there, isn't it? Relationships. Hell. I never had any relationships before I hit fourteen.

But now I'm fourteen. Everything changes. Even the language. Now I'm high school age. Teen. Cripes. I was, technically, a teen when I was thirteen, because I could hear it in there--thirteen, see--but apparently that was different. I was really thireen. Now I'm A Teen. Very different animal, apparently. Young adult. You know that one was dreamed up by an old adult. All I know is nobody consulted me.

I used to have a mother, and a friend, and another friend, and . . . well that's about it. Now I got relationships.

Still have Mom. She's cool. Quick with a joke and to light up my smoke and all that. Sometimes a little nutty, sure, but she is the best in the world at her version of the mom thing. Of course, I don't think anybody else practices her version of the mom thing, so she's got very little competition. If I could manage having more than two friends, it is possible I'd give her the third slot. But don't repeat that.

Still got the two, though. The original equipment. Could do better, probably, but I'm lazy is what it is. That's why I've had the same two friends forever. Friend One, Mikie. Friend One-A, Frankie. Been through everything together. Kid stuff mostly, but it seemed like a lot at the time.

Who'm I kidding? It seems like a lot now, too.

And the kid stuff held together, even when it started looking like we weren't going to get to be kids anymore. Wewere like one organism, the three of us, as we went from grade school to high school, never actually talking about it, never mentioning the hundreds of choices available across the city. Don't know who decided on this joint first, but here we are, again in the same place, with no evidence of who followed whom.

Then there was even this little summer test camp for us, to break us . . . break us in, I mean . . . before we actually came to school in September. It was kind of a horror show that taught us a lot about what to look out for in the next four years but really, in the end, turned out to be more about us--me, Mikie, and Frankie--with a lot of other players shuffling in and out of the game.

That's a thing right there. Other players shuffling in. Seems like it can't be simple anymore. And for the first time ever, I know I don't want it to be.

Which brings me to the one more thing, and brings me to now. Relationships. What happens to what you've got, when you get all this more?

"Why are you sitting like that, Elvin? Sit up straight." "What?" I sat up straight. Straight hurt. I leaned a little to one side again. "What, Ma? Sitting like what? I'm sitting fine. Maybe I'm up straight and you're slanted."

She continued slicing perfect banana coins onto my Special K from over my shoulder, then went to the counter and came back with a saucer. On the saucer were seven apricots arranged in a circle around the center ring. A beautiful overripe apricot-blossom flower.

"I'm not eating those, you know." I looked so I was viewing her face-on and serious--and upside down and backward. "I don't care if you arrange them in the shape of flowers, or animals, or airplanes . . . you can even shape them like food if you want . . . ."

"You know, if there is something making you sit sideways like that, it probably would be good to tell me." Would that be a smile on my ma's face? Yes, I believe it would.

Oh, she heard me all right. She was well aware that I wanted to talk about something else. She's fairly brilliant at playing a kind of verbal kung fu with me when she wants to talk and I don't. Fortunately, I, and only I, am more than a match for her.

"I said, no apricots, lady. Take them away."

"You love apricots."

"Maybe I do, maybe I don't. All I'm saying is, I'm not having them." I straightened up, picked up the saucer, and balanced it on the tips of my fingers, waiting for her to come up from behind and take it away.

She came up from behind, took one off the plate, and tucked it neatly into my mouth before I could react. I've got to stop leaving my mouth hanging open all the time.

"Maaa," I said quite clearly and angrily even though I was chewing. Everything sounds like maaa when you're chewing.

"I'm sorry, but you know how it works: If you want bananas, or cheese, or anything binding . . ."

I swallowed the thing without even chewing sufficiently. "All, right, all right, I think that's enough--"

"For god's sake, Elvin, we're both adults here--"

"Oh, is that it? This is what I've been waiting for all these years? This is what adults talk about that I could never hear before? Binding? Jeez, if I knew this, I would have grown up a lot quicker."

See, now, if nobody intervened, this could go on forever. Because this is the key to Bishop family communication: Not. Not, is the key. With my mother and myself only one of us at a time ever seems to want to get at something. So it's a tail-chasing competition of one of us asking questions and the other thinking up clever and thrilling ways of not answering the questions.

Extreme Elvin. Copyright © by Chris Lynch. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Chris Lynch is a National Book Award finalist and the author of many highly acclaimed books for young adults, including The Big Game of Everything, Who the Man, and the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Freewill; Iceman, Shadow boxer, Gold Dust, and Slot Machine, all ALA Best Books for Young Adults; and Extreme Elvin. He also mentors aspiring writers and teaches in the creative writing program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Extreme Elvin 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Elvin Bishop has been encouraged by his friends to start liking girls. Frankie has a list of girls that he thinks Elvin should be dancing with and liking at the dance. Mike has no opinion on the subject but they both agree he needs a new wardrobe. Elvin sees a girl that he likes named Barbra, but Frankie disagrees and makes him dance with the popular girls. While dealing with his friends Elvin has to deal with Darth and his mom. His mom wants to know everything about him and thinks he is lonely so she gets him a beagle. Darth is the schools biggest bully and is the leader of the Oâ¿¿s. He wants to hang with Elvin just because he knows Sally, and Darth wants to meet her. To find out if Elvin gets to meet Barbra and be her boyfriend, or if his beagle will solve his loneliness youâ¿¿ll have to read Extreme Elvin by Chris Lynch. Extreme Elvin is a very exciting book. While reading the book I could see all the text come to life. All the details and imagery words made the book so much better. The only down fall with this book is that it is hard to understand the dialogue. The book started out very strong and ended even stronger I was glued in after the first couple of pages. Slot Machine also written by Chris Lynch is the first book of the series. That book gives you more character background information. You could read the books in any order though. These books are for any audienceâ¿¿s girls or boys. So if you are a Chris Lynch lover and havenâ¿¿t read these two books you should definitely read them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is a pretty good book. I think that most high school kids should read this book
Guest More than 1 year ago
for teenagers this is a pretty damn good book. i enjoyed it very much..holla
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally hated this book. For all the people that have read it and enjoy it, I disagree with you so much. This book, which is about a guy dealing with weight problems and relationships is not my type of book. I wasted my time reading this book.