A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie [NOOK Book]

Overview


Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he?s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/or die a slow and painful death like someone in a scary scene in scary movie. Rene?s new and only friend tutors him in the art of playing it cool,...

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A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie

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Overview


Rene, an obsessive-compulsive fourteen year old, smells his hands and wears a Batman cape when he’s nervous. If he picks up a face-down coin, moves a muscle when the time adds up to thirteen (7:42 is bad luck because 7 + 4 + 2 = 13), or washes his body parts in the wrong order, Rene or someone close to him will break a bone, contract a deadly virus, and/or die a slow and painful death like someone in a scary scene in scary movie. Rene’s new and only friend tutors him in the art of playing it cool, but that’s not as easy as Gio makes it sound.


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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Blackstone makes a bold and idiosyncratic debut with this boisterous novel about a 14-year-old boy with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The author effectively renders the messy, noisy interior world of Rene Fowler, who lives alone with his single mother and struggles to not just survive but enjoy the chaos of high school. Rene is wedded to his routines and his habits (perpetually smelling his left hand, wearing rubber bands on his wrists, not moving if the time adds up to 13—8:32 or 5:44, for example), and relying on his Batman cape for security. He also has a serious crush, red-haired Ariel, his "angel," and a new friend—a "freakishly tall," social butterfly, Gio. When Rene's long-estranged and boorish father returns home, Gio and Rene run away to Manhattan, where they come across Ariel, and their paradise/nightmare adventure there takes up the last third of the book. Rene's honest, often humorous voice is as compelling as it is exhausting. Blackstone succeeds in creating a singular teenager who happens to have OCD; readers will emerge with a close understanding of the mind and heart of someone with this disorder. Ages 12–up. (July)
From the Publisher

“Blackstone shows real insight into the thoughts of a teen with obsessive-compulsive disorder.” --VOYA
 
“…Blackstone keeps things fresh with insight and wit.” --Booklist
 
"Quirky and surprisingly upbeat, it’s Rene’s voice laughing at himself and yet taking his needs seriously that will lure readers into his head and into his heart.” --SLJ

“Debut author Matt Blackstone reveals a true talent for creating quirky characters and using humor to tell the story of Rene's battle against OCD and the turmoil of his dysfunctional family.  Teen readers will easily relate to Rene's struggles and to the rest of this colorful cast of characters.” –TeensReadToo.com

“Blackstone makes a bold and idiosyncratic debut with this boisterous novel about a 14-year-old boy with obsessive-compulsive disorder.” -Publishers Weekly

VOYA - Deborah L. Dubois
Fourteen-year-old Rene is a high school freshman living in a scary movie. He smells his left hand when nervous, cannot pick up a face-down coin, and will not move if the time adds up to thirteen. If he does, something terrible will happen to him or someone close to him. Rene tells his mom he is in between each of the groups at school, trying to find where he fits; but Rene does not fit with the Devilblackcoats, the Cutters, the Bigbulletholes, the Smartypants, or the Angels. He does not fit with anyone until he meets Giovanni. Giovanni tries to help Rene become cool, but they both end up in a jam when they run off to New York City after Rene's estranged father returns unexpectedly. The book is written in Rene's voice. Blackstone shows real insight into the thoughts of a teen with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Through his friendship with Gio and with the help and understanding of his mother, Rene eventually gains some control over his thoughts and actions, enough to be able to walk and talk and sleep in his own skin comfortably. Many teens will recognize someone they know in Rene and gain some understanding of the kid who does not fit in. Reviewer: Deborah L. Dubois
Children's Literature - Denise Daley
Rene is a high school freshman whose life plays like a scary scene in a scary movie. Thank goodness he has superpowers and his Batman cape. He also has a camouflage T-shirt that makes him practically invisible but if he is still feeling anxious or nervous, the smell of his left hand can calm him. But even that may not be enough because Johnny Van Slyke keeps bullying Rene, even going so far as to bite him on his shoulder. And Rene's favorite teacher, Mr. Head, may be pondering a career change, and Rene's weird dad, whom he hasn't seen in years, may be moving back home. Luckily, a confident and cool new student befriends Rene and together the two travel on an adventure that literally turns into a scary scene in a scary movie. Rene acknowledges his obsessive-compulsive disorder which can be funny at times, strange at others. This captivating novel gives a glimpse into the mind of a neurotic individual, but has the reader rooting for him and hoping that he is truly as strong as he believes himself to be. Reviewer: Denise Daley
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Rene has no friends, but his compulsive rituals keep him occupied, ensuring his prevention of all disasters for himself and the universe at large. At almost 14, his life at school is spent observing the Devilblackcoats, the Bigbulletholes, the Smartypants, Cutters, Likegirls, and the Angels. Fitting in with none of the groups and liking the Angels but invisible to them, Rene decides that Gio could be his first friend as he witnesses him being kind to the unfortunately named teacher, Richard Head. Rene reports that his own mother thinks he's nuts since, "I washed my hands until they were red and raw, talked to myself in public, ran away from anything numbered thirteen, smelled my hands more than forty times per day, ate my animal crackers in a specific order, and made creepy smiley faces out of napkins—even when I didn't want to. "As Rene connects with both Mr. Head and Gio, his life is turned upside down. His highly unusual, practically unique voice and character have charm and humor and yet are clearly not in the normal range. At one point, without consulting the girl, he decides in his own head to offer marriage, plans the wedding, and then finds himself tripped up by never getting an opportune moment to mention any hint to her. Quirky and surprisingly upbeat, it's Rene's voice laughing at himself and yet taking his needs seriously that will lure readers into his head and into his heart.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO
Kirkus Reviews

An odd portrayal of a 14-year-old boy coming to terms with obsessive-compulsive disorder and loneliness.

Rene Fowler is obsessed with the number 13, washes his hands routinely and secretly dons a Batman cape. He's desperate for friendship, which he finds in the guise of a smooth-talking, Bob Dylan–esque cool kid named Gio. Somehow a genuine friendship develops, and the two devise a half-baked scheme to escape Rene's crazy, gambling-addicted dad by taking a bus to New York City. Blackstone's debut is strange in every way—from the hyperbolic horror-movie marketing on the cover to the schizoid universe that is Rene's mind and the language that Blackstone uses to characterize him. Readers will cringe in confused discomfort when Rene breaks into his school wearing a superhero costume and even more when he develops a peculiar relationship with his seemingly troubled English teacher. Many of his thoughts are so far out that readers will be wondering if he's suffering from a more serious ailment than OCD, such as Asperger syndrome. Interestingly enough, Gio is the only character that teen readers will connect with in the novel. His easygoing, go-with-the-flow, straightforward disposition and voice are the sole linear elements that drive the plot forward.

A bizarre first effort that will engage few readers, if any.(Fiction. 12 & up)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429969697
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 7/5/2011
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 604,797
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • File size: 767 KB

Meet the Author

Matt Blackstone

Matt Blackstone joined Teach for America after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, and presently teaches high school English in the South Bronx. He lives in New York City.
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Read an Excerpt


1
 

Legs are my favorite part. I never snap them off with a single bite. I nibble on them slowly as I work my way up. I crunch bony ankles, gnaw on slender calves. Knees are a delicacy; canine teeth are ideal for chipping cartilage. Thighs—oh sweet, sweet thighs—must be savored, eaten like a sacred drumstick. Thick and long and often hairy, a torso is best swallowed whole. The neck is delicious, but fragile: one bite and all I have left is a tiny head resting on my fingertips.
Animal crackers. They’re a great snack, but they aren’t great company. Real animals make better pets. Dogs are a man’s best friend, but I am allergic to dogs. I am allergic to cats, guinea pigs, ferrets, gerbils, parrots, sheep, horses, and goats. So I chose bugs.
This summer, the last one before high school, I kidnapped fireflies on weekends and caterpillars on weekdays. I kept the fireflies in a jar until they went to sleep—permanently. I placed the caterpillars in the bathtub, where I tucked them in at night by covering their bodies with tissues.
Finding a bathtub full of caterpillars was a red flag for my mom.
“I’ve made an appointment for you to see the school psychologist,” she said. “Several appointments.”
If I don’t like talking to people I know, why would I talk to strangers?
I have a Batman cape that I wear when I’m anxious. My mom says I shouldn’t wear it to those meetings.
She thinks I’m nuts. She’s had her suspicions ever since I was a kid, when I washed my hands until they were red and raw, talked to myself in public, ran away from anything numbered thirteen, smelled my hands more than forty times per day, ate my animal crackers in a specific order, and made creepy smiley faces out of napkins—even when I didn’t want to.
I still do all those things—they are still part of my daily missions—because if I don’t, I might die of AIDS, or someone close to me might die of a heart attack, or some stranger outside of my small town in Southern New Jersey might get blown up in a bus—and it’d be all my fault and I’d never live it down and I’d bury myself in my room for years and years and years until my Batman cape worked its magic or I became a superhero who didn’t have to worry away death and cleanliness and guilt that never goes away, no matter how hard you scrub.
I don’t tell my mom these things because I don’t want to upset her. It’s not like she has the time to deal with me anyway. She works two jobs: one as a hotel receptionist, the other as a part-time nurse. She doesn’t get home till around 10:00 p.m. Sometimes, she doesn’t come home at all.
“Follow my example and work hard, Rene,” she always tells me. That’s my name. Rene. It’s a boy’s name and a girl’s name, which is great if you’re getting a sex change. (I’m not.)
“Time is money,” my mom says. “Work hard for what you want.”
I know what I want. I’ve worked hard for it my entire life, but it still hasn’t happened. Not even for a day.
I want everyone and everything to leave me the hell alone.

 
Copyright © 2011 by Matt Blackstone
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(18)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 10, 2010

    You must get your hands on this book!

    Funny and realistic, with exceptionally memorable characters. Beautifully constructed with twists and turns. Sure to become a national bestseller in the first few weeks.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2010

    A CAPTIVATING PLEASURE!

    MATT BLACKSTONE HAS WRITTEN A FUNNY STORY WITH A FRESH APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IT TAKES TO GO THROUGH THE GROWING PAINS OF BEING A YOUNG ADULT OF TODAY. IT SHOULD BE USED AS A GUIDE TO GROWING UP! A GREAT BOOK.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    Excellent piece of literature - I highly recommend you check it out !

    "A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie" by Matt Blackstone is an attention grabbing , life changing book. While i was reading this book, my mind opened to see things i never thought possible, the simple yet mind blowing structure is what made this book an absolute joy to read. I especially loved reading about the lives of the various characters and their emotions. As a high school student, I found this book both enjoyable and easy to relate to. I can assure anyone whom decides to read this book, will certainly not regret it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    This author gives a voice to a new generation of writers

    This book must be read immediately. Matt Blackstone creates a novel that speaks to the hearts of people everywhere. Rene is character that is inherently inside of everyone. I found myself getting emotionally involved in the story and its characters. This book is a must-read for anyone that has ever dared to dream. Do yourself a favor, read this book now!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 15, 2010

    A Entertaining piece of literature

    Reading this novel made me more attracted to reading because of the "high school" jargon and it's consistent plot throughout the book. A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie is very well written book that is not monotonous so you will not force yourself to read it but instead you will actually want to read it and finish it. The cast of characters are realistic with a protagonist being someone we would all know in real life as the kid we have known for years and never even bothered to learn their name. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2010

    You can HEAR what you READ

    The author's voice is clear and compelling...you trust it...it is honest, funny and real. His ear for dialogue is so true that you can hear his characters speaking into your ear as you read his book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2010

    you'll be rooting for rene all the way through

    matt blackstone is a talented new writer who brings the angst of being rene to us on each page of a scary scene in a scary movie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2010

    Couldn't put it down!

    An honest, hilarious, thrilling story about an atypical teenage outcast. I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy, which I couldn't put down. I can't wait to buy the book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2010

    Highly Recommended - a GREAT read!

    This debut author draws in the reader by evoking a full range of emotions, strong character development and imagery that one can almost touch and feel; you won't be able to put it down until you reach the end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Very funny!

    Really enjoyed this book. In fact, it was the first time I had laughed out loud while reading a book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo

    Rene is living "a scary scene in a scary movie." He is afraid to step on a crack, he smells his left hand when he gets nervous, he must wash his body parts in the right order, he can't move when the time adds up to thirteen, and there's more. According to Rene, if any of these rules are not followed, life will be like "a scary scene in a scary movie" - horrible things will happen. Life has always been a challenge for Rene. When he was younger, his odd behavior may have been considered cute, but now that he is fourteen and still inclined to wear his superman cape, he is viewed as weird. He has no friends, and fitting in now in high school is his latest challenge. He recognizes the cliques that surround him - the Cutters, the Smartypants kids, the Devilblackcoats, and the Bigbulletholes with their over-sized piercings - and he knows there is no group that will accept him. When Rene realizes Gio is making overtures of friendship, he is thrilled but also fearful that something will happen to ruin everything. Between his favorite teacher, Mr. Head, and this budding friendship with Gio, Rene thinks maybe life has turned around for him. Unfortunately, Phil, his ex-dad, shows up out of nowhere and things get complicated again. Now that Phil is back, Rene fears that his mother is planning to reunite them as a family. Phil has been gone for years, and his emotionally abusive treatment is something Rene has not missed. Is it possible that having a new friend has given him the strength he needs to stand up to Phil? Has his odd relationship with Mr. Head given him the courage to stand his ground? Time will tell. Debut author Matt Blackstone reveals a true talent for creating quirky characters and using humor to tell the story of Rene's battle against OCD and the turmoil of his dysfunctional family. Teen readers will easily relate to Rene's struggles and to the rest of this colorful cast of characters. Blackstone is an author worth watching.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    A refreshing read. After reading several books that did not capture my attention, this one stood out. A fantastic, hysterical story that is perfect for all ages, especially young adults fans. Recommend this to your friends- it is a book you do not want to miss!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2011

    THIS IS A MUST READ BOOK!!

    "A Scary Scene In A Scary Movie" by Matt Blackstone is a life changing story not only for teens, but also for adults. As a teen I feel like I can relate to this story so much.From the moment I opened and read the first sentence of this book I was attracted and wanted to read more, more and more.This book is filled with excitement and many conflicts with the main characters. I'm sure this book will open your mind up and make you experienced friendship in different ways.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2011

    Entertaining,Funny.and the Life of a Teenager

    Reading this book made me actually want to read. I'm not a big fan in reading and staying interested in one book; but, this novel kept me interested the whole way through. This has problems that teenagers go through with life and school. As for me, I can connect to it because I'm the person in the background like Rene. I believe that is why I stayed reading it to the end. It's a MUST have and you won't regret buying it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Funny And Intriguing

    Reading this book made me laugh and expand how i would handle situations and think. Throughout this book, the author used the mind of a real teenager and made it funny . This book made me want too continue reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2011

    fun quirky charachters

    This book was a very fun read. The author took eccentric characters and really brought them to life. Although they seem different, I think everyone can relate to them in some way and that's the brilliance of it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2010

    Best Young Adult Book I've Read All Year

    Matt Blackstone's debut novel is funny, clever, suspenseful...an absolute joy to read! I can say with certainty that this is the best young adult book I've read all year. Just preordered a bunch for my students. They will LOVE this!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 29, 2011

    Blackstone's Debut Has The X-Factor

    In this contemporary YA novel, Matt Blackstone delivers a pitch-perfect depiction of life for a teenager struggling with OCD.

    I awaited the release of this novel for months, and am happy to report it exceeded all expectations. The comical tale does more than keep readers laughing and flipping pages with anticipation; it offers insight to a population most of us cannot understand. OCD is not an illness that attacks organs or makes someone feel ill - it is a mental disease that controls the brain, preventing victims from experiencing the same quality of life the rest of us often take for granted.

    As both a reader and educator, I was thrilled to see an author tackle a topic needing more attention. It's encouraging to see a portal for teens to gain insight about their socially awkward classmate or the neighbor who spends weekends performing 'odd' rituals. Knowledge is essential for tolerance and acceptance to permeate; it is the key ingredient for understanding the foundation of behaviors and personalities we may not understand.

    Blackstone nailed the character of Rene, never once deviating from the mindset of an OCD teen. That fourth wall was sealed to perfection. Through his developed supporting characters, the reader is taken through the reactions of multiple outsiders - those who are compassionate and understanding, and those who target individuals they consider 'different'.

    A Scary Scene in A Scary Movie is a book that makes you think. It guides readers to view situations from multiple perspectives while laying the foundation for personal reflection and meaningful discussion. I recommend this book to anyone seeking an engaging story bound to hold your attention. I especially recommend it for educators and reluctant teen readers.

    Having worked as a public school teacher, I most enjoyed the scenes taking place in Rene's high school - his interactions with teachers and classmates kept me nodding in agreement, and of course, the inferences I pulled regarding educational issues delivered feelings of nostalgia.

    This book grabbed me on the first page. I immediately developed an interest and personal connection to Rene. I never considered him a character; instead, he was a real person with a story I needed to hear. I love a book that makes me feel, think, and learn. Despite being housed under the young adult umbrella, this book provides readers of all ages those exact opportunities.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    Great read! A wonderful insight into the inner workings of kids!

    When I was first recommended this book by a friend, I was wary and disinclined - why would I read a young adult book over the summer?! I'm a teacher and I felt exhausted already from dealing with kids over the long academic year. But he recommended it highly and as I just got a Nook (awesome!) I figured I'll give it a try. Boy am I glad I did! Blackstone offers a deeply insightful account of the inner workings of a kid's thought processes - how insecure, confident, superstitious, grasping, fragile, super-heroic and, well...cool it really is. My buddy said that Blackstone was a teacher and it shows - his character drawing of Rene could only be done by someone who knows kids well and understands what they are thinking - as a matter of fact, it seemed that I thought exactly the same way when I was a teenager...that he was reading my adolescent mind. Great job - his strong character sketches really engaged me! This seems to be the author's first book, but I would definitely read another by him.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

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