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Fat Kid Rules the World

Fat Kid Rules the World

4.5 67
by K. L. Going

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Troy Billings at 6'1", 296 pounds, is standing at the edge of a subway platform seriously contemplating suicide when he meets Curt MacCrae -a sage-like, semi-homeless punk guitar genius who also happens to be a drop-out legend at Troy's school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
"I saved your life. You owe me lunch," Curt tells Troy, and Troy can't imagine


Troy Billings at 6'1", 296 pounds, is standing at the edge of a subway platform seriously contemplating suicide when he meets Curt MacCrae -a sage-like, semi-homeless punk guitar genius who also happens to be a drop-out legend at Troy's school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
"I saved your life. You owe me lunch," Curt tells Troy, and Troy can't imagine refusing; after all, think of the headline: FAT KID ARGUES WITH PIECE OF TWINE.
But with Curt, Troy gets more than he bargained for and soon finds himself recruited as Curt's drummer. "We'll be called Rage/Tectonic. Sort of a punk rock, Clash sort of thing," Curt informs him.
There's only one problem. Troy can't play the drums. Oh yes, and his father thinks Curt's a drug addict. And his brother thinks Troy's a loser. But with Curt, anything is possible. "You'll see," says Curt. "We're going to be HUGE."
In an outstanding, funny, edgy debut, K. L. Going presents two unlikely friends who ultimately save each other.

Author Biography:

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A fish out of water, 6'1", 300-pound Troy is on the verge of suicide-at least he believes he is-when he is inexplicably rescued by a homeless boy/legendary local punk rock musician. In PW's words, this is "a savvy and fast-paced debut." Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The main reason that 300-pound Troy Billings doesn't commit suicide by jumping in front of a New York subway train is that he is afraid people will think it's funny: "Would it be funny if the Fat Kid got splattered by a subway train? Is that funny?" But he is also interrupted by a chance conversation with another lost teen: Curt MacCrae, homeless high-school dropout, druggie, and punk-rock legend. When Curt invites—cajoles, pressures, forces—Troy to become the drummer in his not-yet-formed rock band, Rage/Tectonic, overlooking the slight detail that Troy can't play the drums, Troy's life begins to change, and Curt's does, too. Troy's retired-marine-officer dad and sneering, hostile jock brother are at first dismissive, then grudgingly impressed, and for the first time in his life, Troy is impressed with himself, too. But in the end he is going to have to risk everything to save Curt as Curt once saved him. Troy's edgy present-tense narration is punctuated by hilarious and poignant imagined headlines: "FAT KID HALLUCINATING ABOUT COOL FRIEND;" "EXULTANT FAT KID REJOICES;" "FAT KID WITH A PLAN." Going creates a completely credible picture of the New York punk-rock scene and makes us believe in Troy's bumpy journey toward becoming both a rock-band drummer and a true friend; in the process she identifies herself as one of the most promising new voices in YA fiction. 2003, G. P. Putnam,
— Claudia Mills
Take a suicidal, three-hundred-pound misfit, whose sardonic sense of humor constantly supplies his imagination with headlines beginning FAT KID..., and inject him with hope in the form of Curt, an oddly charismatic "white piece of twine" who is addicted to prescription cold medicine and NyQuil(r). Troy, a.k.a. Big T, has never imagined himself as a fat kid drummer boy for any band, but Curt convinces him that they can become the next Smack Metal Puppets. Even before his mother died, Troy never felt as if he belonged, but now, Curt's drug-induced energy and personality push Big T into the limelight-whether he likes it or not. Curt, by completely ignoring Troy's negative image of himself, forces Troy to realize that there is more to life than his own misery. Suddenly, in a wild reversal of roles, FAT KID CARES becomes the headline most important to Troy. This book gives readers a wild ride through the mind and heart of a seventeen-year-old who contemplates suicide by imagining what his fat would look like splattered by a subway train. Going's edgy and realistic characterization of Troy and Curt will resonate with readers who themselves are struggling with image, depression, and drug abuse issues. Anyone who works with teenagers will recognize Curt and Troy immediately and come away from this book with a new understanding of what each person does in the name of self-protection. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2003, Putnam's, 177p,
— Lynn Evarts
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Actor Matthew Lillard (Scooby Doo, Scream) is briefly accompanied by punk rock music as he reads K. L. Going's novel with expression, enthusiasm, and emotion (Putnam, 2003). Lillard narrates clearly and fluidly, changing his voice for each character and making each role convincing. Troy, a 17-year-old 298 pound "Fat Kid," is considering suicide, but can't think of an approach that won't be funny to those who stifle giggles when they see him carry out everyday tasks. Deep in thought, Troy doesn't notice Curt watching him. Curt interrupts and claims that Troy owes him lunch in exchange for saving his life. Going named Curt after Kurt Cobain, an appropriate namesake for this troubled, genius guitar player determined to form a punk rock band. Curt is convinced Troy is the ideal drummer-except that Troy can't play the drums. These imperfect, but lovable and sometimes funny characters, developed through off-the-wall, powerful descriptions, create a realistic picture of the teen punk music world. Through some difficult life lessons, Curt inspires Troy to see himself differently. Ultimately, though, Troy finds his own path to self-confidence by reaching beyond himself to the needs of others, especially Curt. The poignant relationship is reminiscent of Holes, Of Mice and Men, and Freak the Mighty. The few female characters are portrayed as sexual objects, except for Troy's mother who died of cancer, and Curt's mother who wants nothing to do with him. Sexual references, negative portrayals of adults for most of the novel, and excessive use of expletives, especially the "f word," make this novel most appropriate for individual listening.-Kariana Cullen Gonzales, Lincoln Consolidated High School, Ypsilanti, MI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Troy's voice is candid, irreverent, realistic and humorous. [A] wonderful, engrossing tale."—SLJ

Product Details

Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Skinny Punk Genius Saves Fat Kid

"Lucky for you I was at that station," Curt says as he watches me eat. "I mean, since I saved your life and all." His eyes track each bite I take, but when I offer him my fries he won't take any.

"I wasn't going to jump," I say, holding a french fry in the air. I'm lying, but only halfway.

Curt scoffs.

"Were," he says as if there's no argument. "I was watching you for, like, an hour. That rude, twirpy kid left, then three trains passed and you never looked up from the tracks. Then the insane laughter and I knew you'd lost it. I said to myself, Curt, you save this kid's life and he will surely buy you lunch."

"I wasn't going to jump," I say again with my best resolute look. I was just thinking. Just thinking."

Curt considers this at length.

"How come?" he finally asks.

I want to give him the you-moron look the kids at school have perfected. Maybe say something sarcastic like, "Use your imagination." I want to say, "Open your eyes. I'm a fucking three-hundred-pound teenager living in the most unforgiving city on earth. I'm ugly and dumb and I make stupid noises when I breathe. I annoy and bewilder my only living parent, mortify my little brother, and have no friends."

I shrug.

Meet the Author

K. L. Going lives with her family in the Hudson Valley area of New York State. Since graduating from college she has worked as an adult literacy tutor, a ticket agent for a major airline, a front desk clerk at a resort hotel, and an assistant in a Manhattan literary agency. She has lived in Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and New York. K.L. is the author of many books, including Fat Kid Rules The World, The Liberation of Gabriel King, and Dog in Charge. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World, was a YALSA Michael L. Printz honor book.

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Fat Kid Rules the World 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Franklinwriting More than 1 year ago
The book is about Troy, "I'm a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform staring at the tracks. I'm seventeen years old, weigh 296 pounds, and I'm six foot one. This book isn't something you're going to want to put down after the first 4 pages like all other books. This one will keep you interested from the very start until the end. The dialog they use for each character is just how any teenager would be talking. The descriptions of certain people and places can paint a picture in your head as if you were actually there. It is creative,fun and there is never a dull moment. Troy meets up with a dropout musician from his school name Curt McGrae right before he is about to jump into the oncoming train. Curt saves him and insists on lunch. Troy agrees, and after a very few things occur, Troy ends up in Curt's band! Not knowing how to play the drums and being self conscience about himself how is he going to go on stage and play next to the "famous" musician?! Troy is caught in a lie so far and he can't come to say that he can't play the drums. How will Curt react? What will happen to Troy? Read the book to find out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I watched the movie and thought it was a really good, touching story that had it's funny moments. Then I read the book. Mind. Blown. The book was amazing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fat Kid Rules the World is a great story for anyone who loves a good book about friendship, music, and hard times! The characters are interesting, the storyline is compelling, and the writing is done very well. Great book, I would recommend it to anyone!
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Troy Billings is seventeen years old. He weighs 296 pounds. He's six foot one. And he has a crew cut. Yeah, that's right, a crew cut. He is a sweating fat kid standing on the edge of the subway platform over the yellow line and looking down. And, if you think about it right, there's something funny about it, there really is. At least until Curt MacCrae, the wily blonde ferret of a boy--sometimes student, sometimes dropout, all-the-time legend (and all-the-time homeless) boy/guitar genius, saves Troy's life. Suddenly, instead of jumping in front of the F train Troy is the new drummer in Curt's band. Even though he can't actually play the drums. As Troy learns the ins and outs of Punk Rock and being Curt's friend, he also finds that hitting it big as a drummer and in life might have a lot more to do with his attitude than is weight in Fat Kid Rules the World (2004) by K. L. Going. I didn't realize it until just now when I was writing up the summary part of the review (I write those all myself, did you all know that?), but this is actually one of my favorite books. It's not easy being the outsider because you can't shop at the same stores as the skinny kids or because you're plain old bigger than everyone else.* It's not easy having a brother who thinks you're a loser or a father who pretty much knows you're a waste of space. Troy has all of those things bringing him down. He also has the most amazing sense of humor that comes through in every page of the book in his charming narration. Going manages to take a story that could be tragic and make it funny, poignant, hopeful and amazing. It's short enough to dazzle reluctant readers, deep enough to thrill anyone looking for something more "literary." In short, Fat Kid Rules the World is just kind of a great book. But not everyone thinks so . . . *cue dramatic segue music* For those of you who might not know, we are smack in the middle of Banned Books Week (September 25 to October 2, 2010). Banned Books Week is an annual thing that ALA has been organizing since 1982. It's a week to raise awareness about books that are challenged in local libraries for reasons ranging from vaguely logical in a skewed-censorship-supporting-way to the completely insane (like this guy who thought Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was pornographic**). At its core, Banned Books Week is, quite simlpy, about celebrating the freedom to read whatever you want. (Possibly also to read whatever you want without remorse.) Thankfully larger library systems, like the one where I work, don't have a lot of challenges that reach this level. But many libraries do and it's a serious problem because people should be able to make their own decisions about what they read. And it's not just modern books either, many popular classics are banned or challenged all the time. To celebrate Banned Books Week The Rejectionist and T. H. Mafi have proposed that everyone post a review of their favorite banned book on September 30, so here (obviously) is my review of Fat Kid Rules the World by K. L. Going which was the 58th most banned book of the decade (here's the bonus list for 1990 to 1999) and also one of the sweetest, most optimistic books out there (in a manly, all of the characters are boys, kind of way). Oh and it was a Printz Award honor book in 2004.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rule the world
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Grumpy1213 More than 1 year ago
This Book Is So Funny!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This excellent book,with it's fast pace, catching plot, great music dialog, and believable characters is a wonderful read for a middle or high school boy. It hangs together perfectly, and the pages turn quickly in the eager hands of readers (especially after its been greased with the fat of the main character). It's cast of huffing fat kids, high punk rock stars, stupid jock brothers and strict but sorta nice ex-marine dads brings this book to you with an explosion of incredibly well written words.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
amazing book about a obese teenager who is about to commit suicide and is stopped by a homeless, dirty, smelly kid. troy (fat kid) and curt (homeless kid) become friends and even try staring their own band. i would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read it
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a once overwieght kid i know how hard it is to be outcast like troy was, but this book's ups and downs really was something that got tome. I also can relate to this book because i love to play guitar like curt. This book is the best attention grabber i have ever read with an amazing opening and a killer ending. Reccomended for all high schoolers, overwieght people,deppressed people, any people. (music lovers too)
Guest More than 1 year ago
However imagine weighing 300 pounds and having no friends, walking down the halls of high school with people pointing. In Fat Kid Rules the World, 17 year old Troy Billings is truly the fat kid weighing in at 296 pounds and standing 6 feet tall. Struggling with weight isn¿t even the beginning of his problems. Troy¿s mother is dead, his little brother disowns him and he¿s friendless. He¿s had enough he¿s about ready to take his own life when someone speaks up. A stranger who really isn¿t much better off. Curt is dirty and homeless but he has respect, something Troy is so desperately longing for. With in a day curt not only saves Troy¿s life, he alters it completely. Curt is a guitarist, who is in search of a drummer. Its a great book about students overcoming themselves.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is GREAT! For one thing, it portrays a lot of what goes on in a normal high schoolers everday life. I think that on a personal level thats what counts the most. The major problem the book adresses is the fact that a lot of people in this world are one sided and prejudiced, and that people who look differently can come out on top. This book I definately recommend to anyone who enjoys the underdog stories and/or wants to read a good book with a good theme and moral.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fat Kid Rules The World is a great novel about an overweight kid who tries to take his own life but then meeting a homeless teenager turns out to be the king of his school at one time stops him. They embark on an adventure of ups and downs and a ending i will never forget.Coming from someone who would barely even read something assigned to them in school, I couldn't but this book down. As a musician I could see where everything was coming from and highly suggest this book to absolutely everyone, especially if they're into punk like I am.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An amazing story, really. As another teen battling obesity, I couldn't help but see a lot of myself not only in Troy, but in Curt as well. Once I got started, I couldn't put it down, and I mean that literally it was on the desk next to me while I was doing my homework and I had to stop everythng and finish it before I could do my work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coming from someone who would barely even read something assigned to them in school, I couldn't but this book down. As a musician I could see where everything was coming from and highly sugest this book to absolutely everyone, especially if they're into punk like I am.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is the best out of the four books i have ever read. Its very entertaining as well as comical. I recommend it to anyone
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book and i recomend everyone read it. Its a very fast read when i started i could stop until i was finished. This is a book where you can see yourself in their shoes.