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The Loser's Guide to Life and Love

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Overview

Ordinary, boring Ed works a loser summer job at Reel Life Movies, where he doesn't even have his own name tag. He's stuck with "Sergio." Ed's only consolations are his two best friends. Shelving DVDs isn't so mind-numbingly dull with Scout cracking jokes, and after hours Ed hangs out with the superbrain, Quark. Life starts to look up when the girl of his dreams saunters into Reel Life. Ed knows he doesn't stand a chance . . . but maybe, just maybe Sergio does. All he has to do is pretend to be a smoldering ...

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The Loser's Guide to Life and Love

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Overview

Ordinary, boring Ed works a loser summer job at Reel Life Movies, where he doesn't even have his own name tag. He's stuck with "Sergio." Ed's only consolations are his two best friends. Shelving DVDs isn't so mind-numbingly dull with Scout cracking jokes, and after hours Ed hangs out with the superbrain, Quark. Life starts to look up when the girl of his dreams saunters into Reel Life. Ed knows he doesn't stand a chance . . . but maybe, just maybe Sergio does. All he has to do is pretend to be a smoldering Brazilian stud for the rest of his life. Simple, right? But . . . Ed's new dream girl has her own secrets, Scout wants to be more than Ed's best friend, and his buddy Quark wants Scout for himself.

Star-crossed crushes make for hilarious misunderstandings as Ed guides his life toward disaster in this fresh, contemporary twist on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream.

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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A sweet, almost mystical sensibility pervades the story. Young readers who are looking for romance will warm to this.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A sweet, almost mystical sensibility pervades the story. Young readers who are looking for romance will warm to this."
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“A sweet, almost mystical sensibility pervades the story. Young readers who are looking for romance will warm to this.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A sweet, almost mystical sensibility pervades the story. Young readers who are looking for romance will warm to this.”
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Ed McIff works at Reel Life Movies. He describes himself as a short loser who never gets the girl. He is such a nothing that the nametag he wears doesn't even have his own name on it. So when beautiful Ellie Fenn comes into the store and calls him "Sergio," he has no intention of setting the record straight. Ellie is in town spending the summer with her aunt and uncle, trying to put behind her a relationship with an older boy, a smarmy college student who only wanted to take advantage of the pretty innocence Ellie exudes. "Sergio" seems like a nice boy and the other Reel Life Movies employee, Scout, is the first best friend she feels she has ever had. Scout is a perky, athletic friend of Ed's, who is becoming aware that maybe she wants to be more than a friend to Ed just about the time that Ed's best friend, Quentin Andrews O'Rourke, also known as Quark, develops a crush on her. "What fools these mortals be!" says the Bard, and this novel is a playful adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream, complete with the tall, dark Reel Life Movie employer and his mysterious girlfriend, the Warrior Princess. Told by each of the teen protagonists in turn, readers will be drawn into the characters' lives and loves during the ten days prior to the Midsummer Night's costume party. Ed and his friends are good kids and their foibles are the stuff that adolescent nightmares are made of: what if my best friend and I were both in love with the same person? Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Children's Literature - Kristy Lyn Sutorius
The growing number of Shakespeare retellings wouldn't be complete without the modern teen's version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Cannon captures most of the magic that old Will does with this summertime tale. When his boss at Reel Life Movies gives him a badge with the name Sergio on it, Ed McIff decides to don more than the new name. He creates an elaborate Brazilian alter ego to win the heart of a pretty visitor to Salt Lake City named Ellie. In keeping with the original, our hero is blind to his true feelings for the heroine, Scout. Working alongside Ed at Reel Movies, Scout doesn't put up with Ed's new facade and a fated kiss is all it takes to throw their friendship into a tailspin. In an effort to submerse her characters in Salt Lake life, a backdrop of Mormonism and world-traveling neighbors, Cannon gives Ed's friends more knowledge of Sergio's supposed homeland than your average teen, but it works. Aside from a few awkward scenarios involving the "resident born-again Christian," T. Monroe, there's very little here that wouldn't appeal to your average teen guy, struggling to figure out his game. Told from four different viewpoints in letters, e-mails, and confessions, the conflict is resolved in a scintillating manner. Under a starry sky, with dragonflies aflutter, love abounds and All's Well That End's Well. Recommend Street Love by Walter Dean Myers and Spanking Shakespeare by Jake Winzer for those who can't get enough. Reviewer: Kristy Lyn Sutorius
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Summertime in Salt Lake City finds four friends falling in and out of love and lust. Ed, the goofball, works in a local DVD rental store with no-nonsense, regency-romance-loving Scout, who happens to harbor a major crush on him. Enter gorgeous, vivacious Ellie, who sweeps Ed off his feet with one toss of her hair, and for whom he devises a sexy, Brazilian alter ego named Sergio, as in Mendez, to impress. Meanwhile, Ed's computer geek BFF, Quark, pines for Scout. Crushes, confusions, mistaken identities, and lighthearted humor run amok in this well-written, clean, simple romance. The characters aren't exactly memorable, but they're cleverly drawn in broad strokes of jokingly concise dialogue, most of which will sound familiar to teen readers. They are bright, intelligent, and mature beyond their years. In the teen book world, unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily add up to attention-grabbing plot tension. What results is a solid, safe book that doesn't push any buttons, which may put off readers looking for something more dynamic.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Ed not only has to wear a frilly tuxedo to his job at Reel Life Movies video and DVD rental, he's got a hand-me-down nametag. His pseudonym "Sergio" inspires him, however, to impress the gorgeous Ellie with a fake Brazilian accent. This only annoys his best friend Scout, who secretly has a crush on him, and complicates relations with his other friend Quark, who secretly has a crush on Scout. Begin to see the setup? The very loose allusions to A Midsummer Night's Dream end around there. The alternating voices that convey the narrative in a variety of forms are uneven instead of engaging: Though Ed and Scout are convincing enough in their roles as totally-regular guy and gal, Ellie and Quark never rise beyond their stereotypes of lonely, brilliant beauty and geek. Mediocrity of storytelling aside, the romantic tension is palpable, there is a Shakespearean climax replete with costumes and kissing, and thus-inclined readers will find here at least a few hours of satisfying, if fleeting, romance. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061128462
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/24/2008
  • Pages: 272
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

A. E. Cannon is the author of numerous books for young people, including Cal Cameron by Day, Spiderman by Night, winner of the Delacorte Press Prize for a First Young Adult Novel; The Shadow Brothers, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and an American Bookseller Pick of the List; and Amazing Gracie, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and an ALA 100 Best of the Best Young Adult Books of the Past 25 Years. A. E. Cannon currently writes a weekly humor column for the Deseret Morning News. She has five sons and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband, a parrot, two cats, and a dog that doesn't like her much.

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Read an Excerpt

The Loser's Guide to Life and Love
A Novel

Chapter One

Ed's Turn

"You look like a total dork, Ed," says my eight-year-old sister, the Lovely and Talented Maggie McIff, as I prepare to go to work at Reel Life Movies.

She has looked up from her unnaturally large pile of nude Barbie dolls long enough to make this encouraging observation, and as I catch a glimpse of myself in the entryway mirror, I have to agree (silently) that she is right. Let me make this quick director's note, however: Even if you were a movie star, you too would look like a dork if you were required to wear shiny wingtips, black tuxedo pants, a red cummerbund, a white frilly shirt, and snappy red bow tie to work. Reel Life employees are supposed to look like old-fashioned ushers at a place like Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, although most of our customers say we look like Chippendale dancers.

Just not as chiseled.

It also does not help that I have to wear a former Reel Life employee's name tag because my boss (that would be the incredibly intimidating Ali) hasn't made me a new one even though I've been working for three weeks now. The strange thing is that Ali is usually all over this kind of detail. Everybody knows he's the most organized and efficient manager in the whole entire history of the video and DVD rental industry.

Makes you wonder what's going on, doesn't it?

Anyway, my friend and fellow coworker Scout Arrington helped me land the job because she knows I love movies as much as she does. In fact, here's a confession: I want to make movies of my own one day.

Do not laugh.

It could happen. I could be the nextSteven Spielberg. Somebody has to be.

Right now, however, I am just an ordinary, boring sixteen-year-old guy named Ed McIff with a name tag that says "Sergio."

Sergio?

Scout says "Sergio" sounds like the name of a romantic male lead in a daytime soap.

"Well, that would definitely make me the Anti-Sergio," I tell her, because (frankly) I am not the kind of guy women have fantasies about. For one thing, I'm short.

"Tom Cruise isn't that big of a guy," my mom always says. I love how she tries to avoid using the word "short."

"Yeah," I tell her in return, "but he compensates by being Tom Cruise." Not that anyone really wants to be Tom Cruise anymore now that he's a crazy couch jumper. But whatever.

I check the entryway mirror one more time. Yup. I'm still short.

"You usually look like a dork," the Lovely and Talented Maggie McIff adds for clarification purposes, "but tonight you look dorkier than usual because your hair is sticking up." She serenely braids beads into the hair of one of her bare-naked Barbie dolls.

"Thank you very much," I say. "Now how would YOU like it if I borrowed Quark's junior chemistry set and blew up all your Barbie dolls while you're asleep tonight?"

Quark (short for Quentin Andrews O'Rourke) is our next-door neighbor. We're exactly the same age-we were even born on the same day and used to have our birthday parties together when we were little-but that's where the resemblance ends. He's a brainiac who goes to a private high school for certified geniuses somewhere out in Sandy, a community south of Salt Lake City, where we live.

Quark is also a genius who happens to look exactly like Brad Pitt, in spite of the fact that he a) rarely combs his hair and b) gets mixed up when it comes to putting on matching clothes. He's freakishly tall, though, so I guess you could say he looks like Brad Pitt would if B. P. were suffering from some rare movie-star glandular disorder.

Quark, however, has absolutely no idea that he's good-looking, and he wouldn't care anyway, because Quark lives for the thrill of scientific investigation.

The Lovely and Talented's big eyes grow bigger.

"You wouldn't dare blow up my Barbies," she cries, gathering them up like a mother hen gathering up her chicks. Or however that cliché goes.

"Do not push me," I warn her, looking into the mirror one last time. "I'm one of those walking human time bombs"-speaking of clichés!-"ready to explode."

"It's almost six," Mom calls to me from the kitchen. "Time to be at work, Ed."

"I'm on my way," I shout back.

"See you later . . . Sergio," she trills at me. Then she bursts into gales of maniacal laughter, not unlike a mad scientist.

Is it just me, or do you also think this is unnatural behavior in a female parent? Isn't there a federal law on the books that says mothers are not allowed to laugh at vulnerable male children when they are required to wear stupid clothing to work?

There should be.

I open our ordinary, boring front door and let myself out into another ordinary, boring summer night.

On my way to work (I'm driving my mother's highly pathetic vintage Geo), I write the following script in my head, which is something I like to do when things get slow. I'm thinking this might make an interesting documentary for PBS. What's your opinion?

The Loser's Guide to Life and Love
A Novel
. Copyright (c) by A. Cannon . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2008

    Totally Lives Up to Its Title.

    Giving this book to my 15-year-old son 'after I devoured it in one sitting' was like handing him raw broccoli that he mistook for candy. So much of what pre-teens and teenagers are happy and relieved to know about young love, friendship, and being decent, likeable human beings is included, for their reading pleasure, in this wonderful, funny, and timely story. Like children before they hit puberty, this book is a blessing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 3, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Steph for TeensReadToo.com

    Ed McIff works at Reel Life Movies where he has to dress in frilly shirts and wear a name tag that doesn't even say his own name, but that of Sergio. <BR/><BR/>Often, to pass the time, Ed and his best friend, Scout, like to imagine who the mysterious "Sergio" really is. One day, when a beautiful girl comes in named Ellie, Ed pretends to not be his loser-self, but the super-cool and suave Brazilian Sergio. <BR/><BR/>While pursuing Ellie, Ed finds that he actually has feelings for his longtime best friend, Scout. But the only problem is that Ed's other best friend, Quark, also wants to be with Scout. What will happen when Ellie finds out that Ed is really Sergio? What will happen when Quark and Ed battle for the same girl? What will come of this complicated love square? <BR/><BR/>Cannon creates truly entertaining characters in this very fast-paced story about a teenage boy finding out who he is and what he wants. While the story is somewhat clichéd, the reader is sure to be entranced by this romantic comedy. <BR/><BR/>The main character of Ed is hilarious in a dorky way that makes him the favorite of any reader. Overall, this book is a great read for teen readers wanting a little Days of Our Lives mixed with Boy Meets World.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2008

    CRAZY FUNNY!

    This book really made laugh! I, myself, would really love to hang out with someone like Ed.. He may be a dork but he's an absolutely adorable and a funny dork! I totally recommend this for those who are looking for an easy and fun read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2014

    This book is hilarious. It is one of the very few books that ac

    This book is hilarious. It is one of the very few books that actually made me laugh. I could read this book more than once (maybe over five times!). It is random, fun, and dorky. The end was fit perfectly, and it put real-world experiences with a little humor. It includes awkward and embarrassing moments anyone can run into, it includes the confusion of first love (in my opinion). The book ended in a way that makes you think what could happen if there was a sequel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Hey readers!!!

    I read this book first last year, and it still make my heart throb. I actually met Mrs. Cannon herself, and was quite impressed by her. I was one of those readers who try to zone in on all of who the writers are. Every question or commet that was thrown towards this fantastic writer was answered or countered with another question. IF YOU ARE BETWEEN THE AGES OF EIGHT TO ONE HUNDRED, YOU'LL LOVE THIS LURING RELATION TO REAL LIFE!!!!
    This author does tend to relate her books to people around her. And before you ask,yes it does take place in Utah, but do not underestimate this book for it will truely amaze you just as it has amazed me :>
    WELCOME TO THE LIFE OF A TRUE READER SEEKER! read and you will know what I mean.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 1, 2013

    Fun, Quick Read, and Well-Written

    Great book! A nice, feel-good novel with all the funny awkwardness of adolescence. Cute story and well-written.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    Awesome

    I loved this book. Such a fun read - for all ages. I highly recommend it. Will have you laughing and leave you feeling good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Very funny......a must read

    Rite from when i read the discription i knew i would love this book as much as i love any other on my top 10 list....this is a must have to readers of all ages who love a good laugh in a romance novel. I tuthfuly read it more than once and it never got old for me :)

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  • Posted September 1, 2011

    This is a really good book, if your into romances!!

    Book Review: The Losers guide to Life and Love
    The Losers Guide to Life and Love by A. E Cannon was a very exciting book full of summer romance. It gave 4 different perspectives which were very helpful towards understanding the book and being able to relate to it. It also has a great moral to it which is to be yourself and not to be different just to impress someone you like because they don't really like the real "YOU". The story starts off slow but after you past the first few chapters you get hooked. So I really recommend this book and if you do read it, enjoy!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good Light Read

    Very enjoyable. Centers around 4 teens on summer vacation and their search for highschool love. Sweet and full of good humor. Short enough to finish in less than a day.

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  • Posted June 18, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Hilariously Awesome Book

    This book was as funny, romantic, and great as I expected it to be. A perfect, feel-good, laugh-out-loud book for teens and I totally recommend it :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2008

    A Light and Fun Read

    At Ed's summer job at a Reel Life Movies, he is required to wear a very odd-looking uniform and a name tag displaying an incorrect name, Sergio. But things aren't as bad as they could be. He gets to hand out with his two best friends, Scout and Quark, and a very beautiful girl named Ellie might be interested in him. The only problems are that Ellie thinks Ed is a Brazilian guy named Sergio, Scout likes Ed, and Quark likes Scout. It's a complicated love tangle that will test friendships and loyalties. The Loser's Guide to Life and Love was quite a hilarious novel that I truly enjoyed. It was really funny watching Ed get caught in his lies and Quarks social ineptness. All the characters are lovable, even the intimidating Ali who owns Reel Life Movies. But what I liked best about the characters, especially Ed/Sergio was how they knew they had to work things out and do the right thing. In a way, it made the story unrealistic, but it provided for a much happier ending. The Loser's Guide to Life and Love is based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which I appreciated because I love Shakespeare. I also liked the abundance of allusions to various movies as well as novels. I thought it was funny how certain characters started out liking the wrong person only to then start liking the right one, but it made the ending fun and happy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2008

    AMAZING

    This book was just astonishing. Based on a Midsummer Night¿s Dream by Shakespeare, you won¿t be able to put it down. But don¿t be concerned if you¿re not a Shakespeare aficionado! This book is entertaining for anyone. Fresh and amusing it shows how complex love and life is for us teenagers. It shows you how one simple thing like a messed up nametag can transform your life in outstanding ways. The characters are remarkable and truly authentic, and I could relate to every single one of them. This book will be cherished, and missed when it ends. I had such a fun time reading it. The plot seems to be effortlessly figured out, but it¿s not. There are little details and hints that make you second-guess everything you formerly thought, making this book one of the finest novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted January 24, 2010

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    Posted December 22, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2010

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