Idiot!: A Love Story with Drama, Betrayal and E-mail

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Editorial Reviews

Midwest Book Review
A wacky young adult novel for the modern age, with unpredictable twists and turns, told in a first-person ...point of view that brings immediation sympathy for the roller coaster ride of growing up. Refreshing, enjoyable, and highly recommended.
October, 2004
Jim O'Reilly might seem like a normal 16-year-old who has a crush. But Jim's life is anything but normal; it is a constant whirlwind of humor-filled mishaps. After friends force him to try out for the school play, he realizes he is in love with a girl he's known since kindergarten. He refuses to tell her his feelings and instead inundates her with anonymous e-mails. But his problems don't end there: his new love might be more interested in his twin brother, and his mom has just run away from home. But all this bad luck creates an amusing page-turner, with the reader dying to find out how Jim's life could possibly get any worse.
WHAT'S HOT, July 20, 2004
From The Critics
Jim is sixteen and can talk to his best friend, Zanny, about anything until he realizes (during tryouts for A Midsummer Night's Dream) he's madly in love with her. He emails her as "John Kurtz," sharing his feelings, only she's convinced "John" is Jim's twin brother Jake (reknown for his hippie hair and clothes, drinking and drug-induced state). At the cast party, Jim gets drunk for the first time, planning to unburden himself to Zanny, but when he's told she is with Jake, he hooks up with Jake's girlfriend. Full of passion, regret, and humor, IDIOT! conveys the uncertainties of romance in the lives of youth and their parents. The framework of the story (that this is Jim's unsanitized account of what caused him to end up drunk in a tree, eating his own words--literally, his emails to Zanny--and have his picture plastered on the front of newspapers across the country) adds to its cleverness and the ambiguity of Jim and Zanny's relationship. The cover art is a cartoon and too juvenile for the content, but librarians who can sell the story inside will find a receptive audience with guys and girls alike. 2004, Brown Barn Books, 152 pp., Ages young adult.
—Melissa Moore
The subtitle that appears on the inside cover of this book is "A love story with drama, betrayal, and e-mail." The drama is literal and figurative. Main character Jim O'Reilly, alias Demetrius from A Midsummer Night's Dream, falls in love with his childhood friend, Suzannah Ursula Manning, a.k.a. Zanny, who plays Demetrius's love interest, Francis Flute. In real life, the drama unfolds as Jim, through his anonymous e-mail address, professes his love to Zanny, but Zanny thinks that it is Jim's twin brother, Jake, who is sending her the messages. Confused yet? Well, so is Jim, who thinks that Zanny is in love with Jake, causing a chain of events that find him in a compromising situation with Jake's girlfriend, Janine. Enter Zanny again (ouch). The plot becomes even more convoluted-and here comes the betrayal part-when Jim and Jake's mother suddenly leaves home, leaving Jim angry and confused. After a misleading spy session that makes it appear as if Mom is having an affair with a strange, unnamed man, readers learn that Jim's father is the one having the affair-with Jim's English teacher no less, who always does the costumes and scenery for the plays. There are so many twists and turns in this madcap story that Shakespeare surely would be proud. If it seems clear that the boy probably gets the girl in the end, do not be so sure. He does, but which girl is another story. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2004, Brown Barn Books, 248p., Trade pb. Ages 12 to 18.
—Elaine J. O'Quinn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780974648118
  • Publisher: Brown Barn Books
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.33 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2004

    Entertaining Ups and Downs

    IDIOT is a funny and sad book about being 16, often not knowing which end is up, and getting most things wrong. It's about teen life in the suburbs, and I recommend it for high school kids.

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