Hookup Artist

Hookup Artist

3.8 6
by Tucker Shaw

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Lucas is a genius matchmaker, and everyone at Thomas Jefferson High School seems to need his expertise. When it comes to finding his own true love, things aren't so easy. He's just had his heart broken and the prospects aren't promising.

But Lucas has bigger worries—his best friend, Cate, has just been dumped, and he has to find her new Mr. Right.

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Lucas is a genius matchmaker, and everyone at Thomas Jefferson High School seems to need his expertise. When it comes to finding his own true love, things aren't so easy. He's just had his heart broken and the prospects aren't promising.

But Lucas has bigger worries—his best friend, Cate, has just been dumped, and he has to find her new Mr. Right. And right on schedule, on the first day of their senior year, a new guy shows up at TJHS. Derek is friendly, athletic, and the hottie of the century.

As the matchmaker tries to work his magic, it seems like Derek is flirting with Lucas more than with Cate. Which makes everyone wonder—who is Derek interested in, anyway?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Lucas is the best matchmaker in Thomas Jefferson High, but finding a match for his best friend Cate may be the biggest challenge he has ever faced. And while Lucas is looking for someone for Cate, he is also looking for Mr. Right for himself. When Cate, Lucas, and their friend Sonja start their sophomore year, Lucas is bound and determined to find Cate's perfect match. He finds a candidate in Derek, the new guy at school who also happens to be the new school soccer star. But as hard as he tries, Lucas cannot seem to get Derek interested in Cate. To make matters worse, Lucas gets a huge crush on Derek. This complicates his friendship with Cate, his matchmaking schemes, and his life as a high school student. But when Derek starts to pay more attention to Lucas than Cate, everyone starts to wonder—who is into who? The Hookup Artist is a light, humorous novel that makes the complicated issues of teen love immediate and real. The author creates genuine friendships and realistic vicious high school gossip that leap off the page. Although the language is supposed to be from the point of view of a teenager, some of the swearing and derogatory comments in the book detract from the story, and make the reader wish that perhaps Mr. Shaw had not been quite as realistic with his teen character's language! Overall, the trials and turmoil the characters face take the reader directly back to the halls of high school, where rumors fly, friendships are complicated, and not everything is always what it appears to be. 2006, Alloy Entertainment/HarperCollins, Ages 14 up.
—Caitlyn Payne
Lucas is the designated matchmaker in his high school, setting up cheerleaders and outcasts alike. As Thomas Jefferson's own cupid, he can find the perfect mate for anyone; except himself, that is. The problem isn't that he's gay, but that he falls for the wrong guy. When it comes time to fix up his best friend Cate, however, he thinks he has things under control. The new guy in town, Derek, is The Hottest Guy Ever, with dirty blond hair, great-fitting jeans, and soccer player legs. Lucas is positive he is perfect for Cate; that is, until he starts flirting with Lucas! Is he straight? Is he gay? Are Lucas' matchmaker tactics confused by his own attraction to Derek? Things only get worse when he wheedles his boy-loving Latina friend Sonja into joining him as manager of the soccer team. Readers will enjoy the plot that unrolls like an I Love Lucy episode, in which Lucas' efforts to do right are met with almost slapstick results. With a light-hearted touch, Shaw carefully navigates the complexity of teenage sexual identity through solid characters, a fun plot, and the age-old adage that what you are looking for may be right under your nose. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, HarperCollins, 200p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Michele Winship
A great cover featuring couples holding hands and an even better tag line-"hooking up is easy, love is the tricky part"-set high expectations for a book that fails to fully deliver on the promise. The book is not really about hooking up (a term used to refer to "cheap, meaningless, no-strings-attached sex" according to the Urban Dictionary at http://www.urbandictionary.com) but rather about three teens, Cate, Sonja, and the book's narrator and self-described hook-up artist Lucas, and their search for a boyfriend. The core plot point is when the new kid, Derek, arrives on the scene and becomes the object of both Cate's and Lucas's affection. The best thing about the book is Lucas, whose homosexuality is part of a teen love story but not the story. It is not a problem novel about being a gay teen but a romance novel with a gay teen who is front and center, looking for love. While there is a standard-issue, homophobic jock, most everyone else seems to accept Lucas's sexual identity. The book is a bit dialogue heavy-including a smattering of Spanish because the teens work in a Mexican restaurant-but description light. The title seems to promise a lot of sex, but in this nice teen romance with a twist, the characters talk a lot, often saying very little to engage readers with them or the plot. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P J S (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, HarperCollins, 208p., and PLB Ages 12 to 18.
—Patrick Jones
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-When his best friend, Cate, gets dumped, Cupid-wannabe Lucas seizes the matchmaking opportunity to pair her with Derek, the hot new guy in town. At first, Cate is dubious of their match, and rightfully so, since Derek can't seem to keep his eyes off Lucas. Lucas, who has just been dumped by Marcus, finds himself curiously intrigued by Derek. Soon, he and Cate-both of whom originally feigned zero interest in Derek-dupe themselves into crushing on him at the same time. Shaw's sly twist on the old best-friends-fall-for-the-same-guy conundrum is fresh, funny, frolicsome, and not without genuine tension. The characterizations are coyly unique and mingle well with the novel's in-your-face style. Plus, the author's keen ability to reproduce current, realistic dialogue enhances the teen appeal. All of these elements help blend the story's overall sense of comedy and reality successfully, resulting in an amusing story of mismatched lovers with plenty of edge.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lucas, openly gay, adores his two best friends, Sonya and Cate, and delights in setting them up with boys. He, however, has difficulty finding a steady boyfriend for himself. Enter handsome Devin, a "hottie" new to their high school. Lucas decides he'll do his best to get Devin and Cate together, all the while fighting his own intense desire for Devin. Hoping against hope, he begins to see evidence that Devin might be gay. While the friends resolve their problems amid fights, partying and misunderstandings, Shaw never definitively resolves the central mystery of Devin's sexual orientation. Despite the exploration of homosexuality, this effort impresses as light fiction, with the thrust of the plot revolving around who will date whom. Shaw's writing, however, scores as above average. Many young readers will find the story funny and sweet. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.82(w) x 8.26(h) x 0.75(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Hookup Artist

By Tucker Shaw

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Tucker Shaw
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060756209

Chapter One


"Ay, Lucas, I don't care how gay you are," said Sonja as I tried to keep my hands on her swiveling hips. "White boys just can't dance." She pushed my shoulders away in frustration and retied her apron.

"You would know, Sonja," I answered, still swaying to the old Selena song that was blaring from La Boca's shabby old jukebox. "After all, you've danced with every white guy at school. Not to mention every Mexican guy, every black guy, every student teacher . . ."

Sonja snapped her towel at me as I flipped another red vinyl chair up onto table four, which she'd just wiped down. "Well, if I could find one who knows how to dance, maybe . . ."

"Shut up, you two," barked Cate. She looked up from the stack of dinner checks she was tallying in booth one and tucked a dirty-blond lock behind her ear. "You're making me lose count." She readjusted her leg, which she'd propped up on a chair pulled in next to the booth. "Ouch," she said.

"Pass-around Patty over here is the only one who's losing count," I said, pointing at Sonja, who'd just then bent over to retrieve a spoon from under table eleven. "Are you ever not thinking about guys?"

"You should talk, Mr. Totally Obsessed With His New Boyfriend," said Sonja, standing back up and snapping her gum. "What's his name? Marco? Marcus? Marty? The one who plays the piano or whatever?" She flipped her hair -- no small feat, considering the pile of rich, weighty curls that fell halfway down her back and looked, well, heavy -- and spun toward table thirteen, wiggling her butt to the beat and brushing tortilla crumbs into her hand. "Bidi-bidi bom-bom . . ." she sang, her voice filling the empty dining room. Sonja practically grew up at La Boca Mexicana, her father's small, gaudy, sixteen-table strip-mall cantina on Hampden Avenue. And ever since Sonja learned how to control the jukebox, Selena was a constant presence. "Martin! Is it Martin? Bidi-bidi bom-bom . . ."

"Marcus," I said, knowing she wasn't listening anyway. "His name is Marcus. And he plays the guitar." Beautifully, I added to myself. "Marcus." I savored the way my mouth moved around the word. Marcus. It felt like ice cream, and I didn't want to share, not yet. I wanted Marcus all to myself, forever.

Stop! I didn't want to jinx it. I didn't want to hope. Last time I'd hoped too much, with Tim, the whole thing blew up in my face. He'd laughed when I told him how I felt. I couldn't believe that in all my years of matchmaking, it had taken me until then to realize: The trick was not to hope. Not for myself, anyway. I'd save my hope for the people I set up.

"Can you please turn that down?" shouted Cate, clipping together a handful of receipts. "I can't concentrate!"

"You know, Cate," I said, "when you're not so grouchy, you're one of the prettiest girls I know!" It was true. Her eyes were clear and big and green, and her hair, when she let it down, moved like silk. Guys liked Cate, but many stayed away. She had a high-minded air about her, an intelligence, an aloofness. With the right makeup and a thong, she had the raw material to be a Maxim girl. But Cate didn't think much of Maxim girls.

Sonja stopped dancing and walked, stiffly, over to the jukebox in the corner. She reached behind where the employees-only volume controls were and, instead of turning it down, turned it up. Way up. "Bidi-bidi bom-bom!" she belted, taunting Cate. Cate grabbed a spoon and tossed it at Sonja, who blocked it with her hip, sending it clanging to the floor. "I will never turn down Selena," she said with a sniff. "La reina. In San Antonio she's considered a goddess! She is the angel of Corpus Christi!"

"Sonja," I said gently, "Selena is dead. You know that, right?" I put my hand on the back of her shoulder. "The queen of south Texas has been dead for ten years."

"Lucas!" gasped Cate. "You mentioned the unmentionable!"

"And you live," I added, "in Denver. Not Corpus Christi."

Sonja's shoulder stiffened under my fingers, and she inhaled sharply.

"You were in second grade when she died," I continued. "One day you'll make that pilgrimage to Corpus Christi to worship at her altar, but in the meantime, she would want you to expand your horizons."

"No me toca," said Sonja, wrenching her shoulder away from my hand. She walked over to the jukebox and turned it up still higher. "La reina," she growled. I smiled. I was happy. It was the precious end of another Thursday-night dinner shift, and I was with my girls. My stubborn girls. We were fighting, but not really, because we were together. And it was still summer and Selena was the queen.

Later, things would only get better, when I would see Marcus again, for the first time since . . . I looked at my watch. For the first time since three thirty this afternoon, after he'd serenaded me with some song by the White Stripes and we'd had our second hands-on make-out session of the day. I'd left him at his place, snoozing, beautiful, unworried, with a note stuck between the strings of his guitar. It was a request: write a song for me.

I imagined him there still, dreaming next to my note, under an invisible cloud of his sweet, sweet breath, waiting for me, perfect.

Okay, gross. If I was listening to myself talk like this, I'd tell myself to snap out of it. I flipped another chair onto table four, surprised at how light it felt. Everything felt lighter tonight.


Excerpted from The Hookup Artist by Tucker Shaw Copyright © 2006 by Tucker Shaw. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Tucker Shaw grew up in Denver, Colorado, where he loved the chile con queso at Piccolo's on Evans Avenue. Since moving to New York, he's written several self-help books for teens (some more helpful than others) and two young adult novels: Flavor of the Week (a love story with recipes) and Confessions of a Backup Dancer (co-authored with "Anonymous"). He's a big Selena fan and loves watching TV.

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Hookup Artist 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
wow this book is relly cool. i found this in my school library and i was surprised to find to only book there with a gay guy!!! it was a great story that *cough* i kinda took, but i highly recomend it to any one 14 or up!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boy meets boy. Boy falls in love with boy. Boy must resolve the dilemma of setting said object of affection up with one of his best friends (who happens to be a girl who has just been dumped by a jerk boy). Lucas is the quintessential hookup artist for his two friends Cate and Sonja. Oh, and Lucas is gay. This story truly is a drama and does a pretty good job of recreating the maelstrom of emotions and hormones that are the mix in high school. Many of the stories published about gay teens seem to be surrounded with a halo of light. The instances of harassment are glossed over and the hero or heroine basks in the glow of knowing that their families and friends are far more understanding of the lifestyle than the frightened teen ever imagined. This story is a little more realistic about the comments and conundrums that a gay teen must face. The use of the alliterative pet names was a little annoying, but otherwise, the characters were well defined and the plot provided a snapshot of the highs and lows of friendships, trust, and ¿hooking up.¿ The story concluded with a sentence that allows the reader to create his/her own continuing saga which, depending on a reader¿s taste, may or may not be satisfying. This story would provide opportunity for discussion about personal choices, relationships, and teen alcohol use, but would really be more of a book to be read for the pleasure of the reader.
Guest More than 1 year ago
ok so when i got this book i didnt havew a clue that lucas was a guy and he was gay....it was seriously one of my favorite books! i really think its good for teens 14 and up! take my advice read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
omg when i took this book out of the library i really thought it was oing to be wack but it wasnt. this book was soooo goood!I LUV IT!!!i seriously couldnt stop reading!