Rich and Mad

Rich and Mad

3.5 11
by William Nicholson
     
 

Maddie is a 16-year-old who decides she's ready to fall in love, and sets her sights on a popular boy in her theater club. As they embark upon a secret email relationship, Maddie starts to wonder—does he like her back? Or is a more average boy, a boy on the fringe who reads books, and who has a crush on her friend, the one who might ultimately touch her heart?

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Overview

Maddie is a 16-year-old who decides she's ready to fall in love, and sets her sights on a popular boy in her theater club. As they embark upon a secret email relationship, Maddie starts to wonder—does he like her back? Or is a more average boy, a boy on the fringe who reads books, and who has a crush on her friend, the one who might ultimately touch her heart?

A novel about a teen who learns that your first love might not be the popular boy you notice first. The final scene of the book, which ends with their first love-making session, is tender, touching, and real.

Also available in hardcover (ISBN 978-1-60684-120-4) and e-book (ISBN 978-1-60684-183-9) editions.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this tender book about first love from Nicholson (the Noble Warriors series), classmates Rich and Maddy barely know each other when he asks her for help winning over her friend, Grace. But after they each face heartbreak, 16-year-olds Maddy and Rich realize they are meant for each other. Readers will easily fall for these sensitive teenagers. Rich reads from Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving and reveals vulnerable feelings in his journal (“So what happens if all the girls I want turn out not to want me?”). Maddy, meanwhile, is coping with her father’s affair, a friend’s betrayal, and a growing understanding that love--and her emotions--are complex (“I’m complicated in ways I’ve never realized before. Not just happy or sad, but both, and all the shades in-between, all the time”). There is a lot of intense background plotting, including Maddy’s older sister’s abusive relationship and a teacher who leaves amid rumors that he is “a danger to the students.” But it’s Rich and Maddy’s honest (and explicit) exploration of themselves, love, sex, and each other that will most make an impression. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Geri Diorio
Maddie and Rich have never considered each other as boyfriend/girlfriend material, and there are difficulties on their way to couplehood. Rich has a crush on Maddie's girlfriend, Grace. Maddie likes the popular Joe Finnegan, but Joe has a steady girlfriend. Their home lives are complicated: Maddie's parents' business is having financial troubles, her dad is cheating on her mom, and Rich's beloved grandmother is dying. There are school issues: a favorite, unconventional teacher is accused of impropriety and ends up quitting. And there is an entire subplot about violence against women, as both Grace and Maddie's sister, Imo, get beaten by their (unknowingly shared) lover, Leo. But Rich and Mad do end up connecting, both emotionally and in an explicitly physical way. The writing is an interesting combination of lyrical philosophizing, dramatic action, and friendly banter. The characters can be almost unrealistically thoughtful, such as when Rich ponders: "So I'm nervous about sex . . . nothing unusual there. So I want the safety of closeness. So I want the no-fail zone of love." Maddie surprises everyone with the depths of her anger when she lashes out at Leo, hitting him with a beer mug. And both Rich and Maddie have wacky sidekick best friends, who end up flirting by the book's end. (You can tell the author is a screenwriter.) Though this will be popular because of the graphic love scenes, there's more here than just sex. Teens who read beyond that will find a thoughtful coming-of-age tale. Reviewer: Geri Diorio
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up—This novel, narrated with limited omniscience from the points of view of 16-year-old Maddie and her classmate Rich, describes both characters' growing interest in romance and intimacy. When Maddie develops a crush on Joe, a popular guy who has been dating another girl for years, he seems to signal his interest by communicating with her through email, sending Maddie bons mots while encouraging her to keep their electronic relationship a secret. Meanwhile, Rich nurses a crush on Grace, Maddie's distant, icy, and beautiful friend. As the lovelorn Rich and Maddie pine for the objects of their desire, Maddie, in a plot twist reminiscent of Jaclyn Moriarty's The Year of Secret Assignments (Scholastic 2005), discovers that she has been used as a pawn by a friend involved in a dangerous romance, a finding that draws her closer to Rich. Although drawn as distinct individuals, the protagonists are hard to know; their thoughts and actions are told more than they are shown. When Rich and Maddie's relationship grows intimate, Nicholson's prose is distinctly romantic, though intellectualized, somewhat impersonal, and even mechanical. "She wants to please me. She gives me her body to please me," thinks Rich, after a particularly steamy encounter. Nicholson does not shy away from sexual explication, a characteristic that distinguishes the novel. Just as Judy Blume's Forever (Bradbury, 1975) has been lauded for its frankness but criticized for its clinical language, Rich and Mad might be similarly but guardedly praised.—Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Maddy has her sights set on popular Joe, even going on the pill and watching porn in preparation for a relationship; Rich, listening to his family's vinyl records and garnering tips from Erich Fromm's bestseller, The Art of Loving, hopes to win over gorgeous, aloof Grace. Despite this lust-from-afar, the 17-year-old British teens, self-proclaimed losers with no experience in love or sex, discover true love with each other. Although the cover suggests a cheaply titillating read, Academy Award–nominated screenwriter Nicholson realistically captures the eagerness, insecurities, fear and wonder of sexual awakening, culminating with a frank yet tender depiction of the "first time." While a few side stories and twists, such as rumors of the English teacher's sexual orientation, Rich's grief after his grandmother's passing and Maddy's sister's involvement with an abusive boyfriend, tend toward the moralistic, they also serve to highlight the teens' gentle, respectful and satisfying lovemaking. In the tradition of Forever, this is destined to become a classic as a go-to source for teens curious about both the physical and emotional aspects of sex. (Fiction. 15 & up)
From the Publisher
"Rich and Mad is William Nicholson's first foray into the young adult genre. I certainly hope it isn't his last." - NY Journal of Books

". . . it's Rich and Maddy's honest (and explicit) exploration of themselves, love, sex, and each other that will most make an impression." - Publisher's Weekly

"[F]or those eager to figure out the emotional and physical dimensions of that crazy little thing called love, this is a remarkably thorough and consistenyly engaging treatment." - The Bulletin

"Nicholson does not shy away from sexual afflication, a characteristic that distinguishes the novel." - School Library Journal

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781606841204
Publisher:
EgmontUSA
Publication date:
09/14/2010
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
HL500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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