×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

King of the Screwups
     

King of the Screwups

4.1 17
by K. L. Going
 

See All Formats & Editions


Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. Everybody loves him. He excels at sports; he knows exactly what clothes to wear; he always ends up with the most beautiful girls in school. But he's got an uncanny ability to screw up in the very ways that tick off his father the most.
When Liam finally kicked out of the house, his father's brother takes him in. What could a

Overview


Liam Geller is Mr. Popularity. Everybody loves him. He excels at sports; he knows exactly what clothes to wear; he always ends up with the most beautiful girls in school. But he's got an uncanny ability to screw up in the very ways that tick off his father the most.
When Liam finally kicked out of the house, his father's brother takes him in. What could a teenage chick magnet possibly have in common with his gay, glam rocker, DJ uncle who lives in a trailer in upstate New York? A lot more than you'd think. And when Liam attempts to make himself over as a nerd in a desperate attempt to impress his father, it's his "aunt" Pete and the guys in his band who convince Liam there's much more to him than his father will ever see.

Editorial Reviews

Ned Vizzini
Going's writing is smooth and simple…What lasts when the story concludes, however, is Liam. By subverting expectations, Going not only reaches readers who might otherwise pass up a book like hers, she also shows them she understands: their view from the top of the social power structure is not easy, nor is it even all that powerful.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Liam Geller's mother is a retired supermodel, his father a high-powered CEO. Liam, 17, is a world-class ne'er-do-well. He breaks the camel's back when he's caught in flagrante delicto with a girl on his father's office desk and gets kicked out of the house. Liam's softhearted mother arranges for him to move in with her husband's estranged brother, Pete, a cross-dressing deejay who lives "in a broken-down trailer park in the middle of nowhere," per Liam's father. To regain his father's approval, Liam tries to lose his "Mr. Popularity" rep and reinvent himself as studious and nerdy (he even joins the audio-visual club), but he can't hide his charm. Darleen, a hostile classmate Liam tries to befriend, sees right through him. "You'll do what you do, which, if I'm guessing correctly, is to be wildly and naturally popular." Going's latest (after The Garden of Eve) is full of comic moments featuring "Aunt" Pete's glam-rock band buddies and Liam's relentless blunders, as well as his uncommon fashion expertise ("You're like a fashion Einstein," gushes one of Pete's friends). Readers-screwups or not-will empathize as Liam, utterly likable despite his faults, learns to be himself. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
It seems Liam cannot do anything right. His entire life is a series of screw-ups. He can't even screw up right; somehow, Liam screws up the screw up! Liam's father does little to hide his disappointment in his son, and when Liam is caught drunk with a half-naked girl in his dad's office, the consequences are severe. Liam is kicked out of the house. He ends up living in a mobile home with his dad's cross-dressing brother. As a high school senior starting a new school in a small town, he tries hard to not be himself but to be like his dad. Of course, he screws that up. With the help of his "Aunt" Pete and his new friends, Liam slowly comes to realize that he will never be like his father. Neither will he ever be able to please his father. At the same time, Liam discovers that he has natural talents that he should not suppress because he does not screw things up when he allows himself to be himself. This exceptional coming-of-age story by Printz Honor winning author K. L. Going will have readers rooting for Liam as he struggles, initially, for his father's acceptance and ultimately learns to accept himself. Reviewer: Denise Daley
VOYA - Mary Ann Darby
When cool, popular Liam Geller, a colossal disappointment to his no-nonsense executive father, screws up—again—he is kicked out of his home right before his high school senior year and finds himself living with his father's brother in an upstate New York trailer park. Liam has always thought of his DJ/glam-rock-band gay uncle who loves to cross-dress as "Aunt Pete." Pete's band members are also members of the small community that is now Liam's: Dino is a policeman, Orlando is Liam's English teacher, and Eddie runs a clothing shop. As Pete and his friends try to support Liam, Liam is so preoccupied with regaining his father's approval that he cannot see his own talents, similar to those of his former model mother. It takes another painful round of screw-ups before Liam can finally accept himself and realize that his neighbor Darleen is right when she says, "You can't create love, Liam. You just have to take it where you can find it." Going creates an engaging cast of characters in her latest novel, which is clearly the story of parental expectations completely at odds with the dreams of a child. Liam's story is interspersed with flashbacks of a young Liam and his mother bonding in the world of fashion and of his father's unending disdain for all of it. Liam is a complex character whose development into a sympathetic, real person is compelling. The author effectively illustrates the message that each person must accept and be true to his or her own strengths and weaknesses, a meaning that will appeal Going's teen fans. Reviewer: Mary Ann Darby
VOYA - Amelia Evard
I enjoyed reading this book. It took me a long time to decide what I thought of Liam, and whether I liked him. It was something I liked about the book; each character was more developed and had more to him or her than at first glance. It is a great read with interesting and entertaining characters, and I didn't want to put it down. Reviewer: Amelia Evard, Teen Reviewer
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

Liam Geller's good looks and fashionista genes come from his mother, a former model who introduced him to the glamour of the runway when he was just a toddler. Popular with his fast-lane friends, Liam's live-to-party attitude ires his cold, controlling father, so it isn't surprising when yet another a streak of bad behavior gets him kicked out of the house. Angering his father even further, Liam seeks refuge with "Aunt Pete," his cross-dressing, deejay uncle who lives in an upstate New York trailer park. The setting is ready-made for the cast of quirky characters who make up Pete's glam-rock '70s band: Eddie, a boutique owner; Orlando, Pete's boyfriend (and Liam's new English teacher); and Dino, a local cop. The Gucci-clad teen awkwardly tries to adapt to his new surroundings, missing cues from Darleen, the arty girl next door, about what it means to be popular in Pineville. Liam's misadventures unfold alongside incidental memories (in italics) that subtly reveal the relationships between father and son and mother and son as they developed over the years. Liam is a multifaceted and resilient character who ultimately learns how to be comfortable in his own skin with the help of his new, makeshift family. Going's knack for defying stereotypes and creating memorable characters will not disappoint fans of Fat Kid Rules the World (Putnam, 2003) and Saint Iggy (Harcourt, 2006).-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY

Kirkus Reviews
Popular, beautiful slacker Liam spends the majority of his time partying and chasing girls instead of focusing on his studies. To keep him in check, his dad kicks him out of the house and ships him off to live with his gay glam-rocking uncle. Bad hair, tights, bitchy neighbors, reality checks and fashion shows ensue. Going's latest flows easily with smooth, realistic dialogue and reads like a coming-out story for straight guys. This innovative, out-of-the-box approach juxtaposes stereotypes, received values, parental roles and masculinity in a jarringly fun and approachable manner that marks a triumphant left-turn for the genre. Cloaked as a story of tough love, this is actually a psychological exploration of the impact of parental expectations versus the dreams of their children. Nothing earned comes easy, however, and Liam finds that he does need to switch some of the gears inside his head, but he's not as big of a screw-up as his parents make him out to be. Moreover, trouble does follow him wherever he goes, but avoiding it is easier when you've got the right kind of support. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

"Going's latest (after The Garden of Eve) is full of comic moments featuring "Aunt" Pete's glam-rock band buddies and Liam's relentless blunders, as well as his uncommon fashion expertise ("You're like a fashion Einstein," gushes one of Pete's friends). Readers—screwups or not—will empathize as Liam, utterly likable despite his faults, learns to be himself."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Liam is a multifaceted and resilient character who ultimately learns how to be comfortable in his own skin with the help of his new, makeshift family. Going’s knack for defying stereotypes and creating memorable characters will not disappoint fans of Fat Kid Rules the World (Putnam, 2003) and Saint Iggy (Harcourt, 2006).--School Library Journal, starred review

"Going’s latest flows easily with smooth, realistic dialogue and reads like a coming-out story for straight guys. This innovative, out-of-the-box approach juxtaposes stereotypes, received values, parental roles and masculinity in a jarringly fun and approachable manner that marks a triumphant left-turn for the genre. Cloaked as a story of tough love, this is actually a psychological exploration of the impact of parental expectations versus the dreams of their children."--Kirkus

"Liam and Aunt Pete are true originals, and Going balances her strong messages of selfdiscovery and acceptance with compassionate, bittersweet scenes that highlight the soul-sapping futility of trying to please unappeasable adults."--Booklist

"Going creates an engaging cast of characters . . . Liam is a complex character whose development into a sympathetic, real person is compelling."--VOYA (4Q4P)

“After her darker, more enigmatic turn with Saint Iggy . . . Going delivers an involving coming-of-age character study likely to please fans of her Fat Kid Rules the World.”--The Bulletin

"Going's writing is smooth and simple."--New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780152062583
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/06/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

K. L. GOING is the author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book; Saint Iggy; and The Garden of Eve. She lives and writes full-time in Glen Spey, New York.
www.klgoing.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

King of the Screwups 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
You can't please everybody. I knew that before reading KING OF THE SCREWUPS by K.L Going. Ms.Going, however, is going to please a lot of people with her newest book. I have read her other books and she just has a way of creating an engaging ensemble of characters in each book you read. I like Liam Geller, the protagonist in this story. He is Mr Popular. You know the type - very good looking, knows how to dress, has his way with the ladies, excels at sports. He is just an average student, though, and this disappoints his father to no end. His father is a CEO of this prestigious company and a member of Mensa, so you can imagine what an embarrassment it must be for him that his son does not take after him. Liam actually takes after his mom, a former runway model. He has a great eye for fashion and this does not sit well with dear old dad. His father absolutely believes that intelligence and discipline is what will get him far in life. Popularity and likeableness in high school will not help in the real world. I beg to differ on that point.... I do not like Allan Geller. Personally, I think he is a horse's ass. The pressure he puts on his son is ridiculous. Working in the school system, I see a lot of fathers like that. Their kids are generally good kids, have potential, but just feel like losers because they are buried under such criticism and feel no love. This definitely can be considered a coming-of-age story. Liam, throughout this book, discovers who he is and how to make it work. Going seamlessly combines much needed comic moments with some heartbreaking ones. I think the intention of this book was to show that it is okay to not be perfect, but what really came out is how damaging a parent's high and sometimes unrealistic expectations can be on their child. Now, I am not saying Liam is perfect - he does screw up and does some things that may make parents cringe, but he is not an utter failure at everything. I don't think it was right to get drunk and pretty much have sex on his dad's desk. He was doing what teenagers do, but this last episode was the one that broke the camel's back. This screwup gets him kicked out with a slim chance of ever returning. His father has had enough of him and wants him out of the house. He has made arrangements for Liam to live with his grandparents, but because they don't care for him too much, Liam makes alternative arrangements to live with his Aunt Pete, which angers his father even more. You see, aunt Pete is a gay glam rock DJ living in a small trailer, not exactly the role model for discipline that his father wants for Liam. It turns out though that "Aunt" Pete and his colorful assortment of friends are better role models for Liam than his dad will ever be by a country mile. And so begins Liam's new life. Here in Pineville, NY, where nobody knows him, he can reinvent himself. Here he could be a nerd, focus on academics like his father wants, and just become someone that his father is proud of. Once his father sees how much he has changed, he will surely take him back. The thing is, no matter how hard he tries to be unpopular, people like him anyway. Well, most people like him. The only one that he wants admiration from is a girl that can't stand him - Darleen, the girl next door.... Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com
GranbyLibraryBookClub More than 1 year ago
Liam cannot do anything right, never pleasing his very critical father. It nearly brings him down, but an unlikely source of caring for him keeps him from ruin. This book was very good. The story was unique and is sure to touch anyone trying to so hard to please someone for love. The characters are well developed. To see how Liam would end up kept me reading. I am ordering St. Iggy by the same author for my next read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
firestar22 More than 1 year ago
i love this book i wish it was longer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first the title threw me off, and I thought this would be a lame book, but my teacher convinced me to give it a read. It was such a fun read! The characters were intresting, and the plotline diffrent. I have never read a book like this before, and i hope i find more like it. I defidently recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
liam geller has always been the most popular boy at school, for practically his whole life. he practically has girls throwing themselves at him, and it does make sense he looks just like his super model mom. after liam gets drunk and starts messing around with one girl on his fathers desk. he gets thrown out becasuse all he can do is "screw things up". he is then forced to live with his glam-rock disk jockey and sometimes drag queen auuu-uncle. and liam fillany gets the change to find himself. and figure who is really is, what he wants in life, and to only live up to his own expectations and not his fathers. ----- i thought this was an excellent book. it's real andit seems like the charactes are intricately woven into the story line.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was pretty good, overall. It had a good story to it and the characters were excellent. It really seemed, though, that story just dragged on and not much happened other than the kid wanting to empress that girl and wanting to go home and please his father. That's all I really saw in the story, honestly.