Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto

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Seth Baumgartner just had the worst day of his life.

His girlfriend dumped him (at Applebee's), he spied his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother (also at Applebee's!), and he lost his fourth job of the year. It's like every relationship he cares about is imploding, and he can't figure out what's going on.

To find answers, Seth decides to start an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto, exploring "what love is, why love is, ...

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Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto

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Seth Baumgartner just had the worst day of his life.

His girlfriend dumped him (at Applebee's), he spied his father on a date with a woman who is not his mother (also at Applebee's!), and he lost his fourth job of the year. It's like every relationship he cares about is imploding, and he can't figure out what's going on.

To find answers, Seth decides to start an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto, exploring "what love is, why love is, and why we're stupid enough to keep going back for more." Things start looking up when Seth gets a job at a golf club with his hilarious and smut-minded best friend, Dimitri, and Dimitri's sister, Audrey. With their help, Seth tracks down his father's mystery date, hits the most infamous bogey in the history of golf, and discovers that sometimes love means eating the worst chicken-salad sandwich you can ever imagine.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
After the title character's girlfriend dumps him on the same day he sees his father with another woman, Seth starts an anonymous podcast where he plays songs and muses on the nature of love and lust. In addition to the podcast and his job at a country club's pro shop, Seth is also spying on his father's "other" woman, assisted by best friend Dimitri, who plays the sex-obsessed sidekick role. As the podcast grows in popularity, Seth's anonymity is stripped away, getting him in trouble for his candor. At the golf course, a friendship develops with Dimitri's wiser-than-her-years little sister, Audrey, while the plot builds to an over-the-top confrontation among Seth, his love interests, his father, and his father's two women during the annual father-son golf tournament. Though Seth is not quite as evolved as he thinks he is--he describes his father's other woman as "a slightly weather-beaten Eva Longoria wannabe," and repeats Dimitri's comment that Seth's mother is a "major-league MILF"--Luper (Bug Boy) delivers plenty of laughs for the average male reader, if not feminists. Ages 12-up. (June)
“An entertaining summer read with heart and soul.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Teen readers, guys in particular, will find much to ponder about the fairways, traps, roughs, and lucky shots that make the game of love worth teeing up for.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Teen readers, guys in particular, will find much to ponder about the fairways, traps, roughs, and lucky shots that make the game of love worth teeing up for.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Teen readers, guys in particular, will find much to ponder about the fairways, traps, roughs, and lucky shots that make the game of love worth teeing up for.”
Rachel Cohn
“Delightful, funny, and true, Seth and his manifesto will win your heart.”
Lauren Myracle
“A break-up story...that turns out to be a love story...that turns out to be so much more. Awesome.”
Megan McCafferty
“If you’ve ever been dumped, you’ll relate to this winning story about one ordinary boy’s funny, flawed attempts at putting the pieces back together. Not just a breakup book, Seth’s story is about the complications of love in its many forms.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Teen readers, guys in particular, will find much to ponder about the fairways, traps, roughs, and lucky shots that make the game of love worth teeing up for."
Children's Literature - Cynthia Levinson
Luper is an author who knows his audience and speaks in a language that readers will understand and to which they can relate. Largely but not exclusively male, his readership will resonate with the angst of the main character, 17-year-old Seth Baumgartner. They will relate to Seth's high-tech savvy-ness and appreciate the seriousness of the issues he has to deal with while, simultaneously, laughing at the loopiness of some minor characters and their foibles. The first chapter immediately establishes the themes of love, trust, and reliability in fast-paced action: Seth's girlfriend breaks up with him; he sees his father with a woman who is not his mother but a radio talk-show host; and, he is fired from his fourth job. Yearning for his ex-girlfriend and angered with his father, Seth decides to explore the various facets of love by creating a self-revealing podcast called the "Love Manifesto." Periodic chapters consist of his podcasts, which convey his musings, confessions, and gaffes in an extended form that is more thoughtful than his banter with his best friend, Dimitri, and, at the same time, is palatable to teen readers. He clumsily pursues other young women as well as the woman he believes to be his father's mistress, Luz. He also starts a new job, as a salesman at the country club's pro shop and, with his father, enters a golf competition for a $10,000 college scholarship. In the climax, Seth purposely muffs what could be the winning shot and, again, loses his job. In the resolution, however, his father shares the history of his relationship with Luz and reveals that Seth has a half-brother. Librarians should consider the frankness of this relationship and the frequent sexual innuendoes of the language and the characters' actions in discerning to whom to recommend this fine book. Reviewer: Cynthia Levinson
VOYA - Caitlin Sottile
This book was absolutely amazing. When Seth's ex-girlfriend asked for him back, I honestly thought he was going to take her in. It surprised me that he didn't, but then again, I kind of felt it coming. The ending definitely caught me off-guard but it made me happy that he finally got everything sorted out and decided to meet his half-brother. Although Seth went through so much trouble trying to figure out who his dad was 'cheating' on his mother with, and keeping it a secret until he got all the details, while his friend was getting on his nerves, and his ex-girlfriend kept rejecting him, he did a good job keeping himself together and not just giving up. This book was always an adventure, and it added suspense to the plot. The story kept me wanting to read more. Reviewer: Caitlin Sottile, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Etienne Vallee
Seth's summer following graduation starts poorly. He gets dumped by his girlfriend, Veronica, at the restaurant where she works. In the same moment he notices his father is also there, having an intimate lunch with a woman who is not Seth's mother. Seth finds himself in a miserable situation: bemoaning the loss of his love while spying on his father and his mistress, unsure of what to do with this information. Seth's dream is to work in radio like his mother, so he creates a podcast. "The Love Manifesto" describes his thoughts on love, along with a list of 156 reasons why he loves his ex-girlfriend. Seth's evolving views on love, prompted by Audrey, his best friend's younger sister, are front and center in this novel. Luper's character faces the very uncomfortable situation of being in the middle of what could very well destroy a marriage, while at the same time dealing with issues of friendship, loyalty, and love. Addressing themes similar to An Abundance of Katherines (Dutton Juvenile, 2006/VOYA October 2006), Seth is looking for who he really is and what he really values. This book makes for a fast read, and the reader is rooting for Seth to succeed in coping with his complicated life. Some vulgar language and the many references to sex, while accurately portraying how many teens speak, may prove too much for some readers. Reviewer: Etienne Vallee
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Poor Seth Baumgartner: his girlfriend dumps him during lunch, and while leaving the restaurant he sees his father with a woman who isn't his mother. The 17-year-old has a lot to process over the summer. Along with humorous conversations and soul-searching with his relatively clueless friend Dimitri, he pours out his feelings about love on the Internet. Seth has typical teen interests (music, cleavage, hanging out) but is overwhelmed by the thought that his father is having an affair, and finding out more about the woman becomes a fixation. More trouble arises when Seth's podcasts, full of snarky comments, are discovered by people who consider him a friend and he struggles to make amends. Seth and Dimitri are avid golfers with summer jobs in a country club pro shop. A stroke-by-stroke description of an important tournament deliciously draws out the tension in the last chapters, and the revelation of a secret results in a positive ending and the indication that Seth is maturing. Those who enjoy computers and music will appreciate the details of creating and uploading the podcasts, although the pop-culture references will date this book in a few years.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
When Seth's girlfriend dumps him during her lunch break at Applebee's, he is not only heartbroken but totally grossed out: While Veronica squelches his dreams of love with nonsensical platitudes like, "I'm too comfortable with you," Seth spots his father having an intimate meal with a sexy woman who is definitely not his mother. Oh, and then he gets fired. From a French-fry stand. Overwhelmed by his messy tangle of feelings about love, Seth records and uploads an anonymous podcast called The Love Manifesto. As his podcast grows in popularity, Seth progresses from utter dejection and know-it-all cynicism to optimism and a grudging acceptance that love isn't an all-or-nothing proposition. All the while, he is supported by his often absurd but deeply loyal best friend, Dimitri (a bit too strongly reminiscent of An Abundance of Katherines's Hassan), and Dimitri's charmingly no-nonsense sister, Audrey. Luper weaves together many themes-trust and secrets, lies and truth, love, lust and, of course, golf-in a way that even the most introspection-hating male reader will eat with a spoon. Derivative but supremely enjoyable. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061827532
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Pages: 293
  • Sales rank: 589,557
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Lexile: HL700L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 8.62 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Luper is the author of the teen novels bug boy and big slick. To impress a girl, he once made an Eric Luper teddy bear, complete with college sweatshirt and icy-cold beverage in one hand and teen novel in the other. The girl dumped him soon after, but that bear is still a treasured possession in his wife’s drawer, so it all worked out in the end. Eric lives in upstate New York with his family.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2014


    Someone plz tell me how to stop it from saying anouymes respond to coolguy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Fun book, Love the Male Perspective!

    SYNOPSIS: After suffering the worst day of his life; girlfriend dumps him, sees his dad with another woman, Seth starts on a journey of exploring love, it's meaning, it's purpose, if it's even worth it. He hashes is out on a podcast, in which he calls himself The Love Manifesto. In his explorations, Seth learns about the chemical ins and outs of love, some lessons in being a good friend and person, and the benefits to eating the world's worst chicken salad sandwich, ever!

    REVIEW: Some of my favorite types of books include 1. Girls who kick butt, and 2. Books told from the male perspective. Considering the title, it's pretty obvious this book is definitely not an option number 1. It's a double bonus when the book is written by a male author too, because it makes me feel like it's a more legit perspective. So here we have two for two! I'm not sure what draws me to male perspective books, except maybe because I'm female? I think had I been smart enough to have actually read books other than the ones assigned to me while I was in High School, and discovered said books, I may have at least had a little more understanding about guys. Or at least could assume that despite what the book may say, men are not from Mars and women are not from Venus. In many ways, it seems as though guys and girls have many of the same doubts and fears, and even expectations of others. It's just how the sexes react that seems to be different. But then again, I'm basing my analysis on a few fiction novels. Anyhow.on with the review, right?

    I felt like I could be friends with Seth Baumgartner. He was the slightly put off, a little sarcastic guy who was dealing with a large load, and in typical teenage fashion, was dealing with it on his own, even if he did have his friends right there with him. He makes honest mistakes and whole heartedly tries to correct them. His best friend, Dimitri, was the slightly overweight, comic relief of the book. Actually, he had some very insightful remarks, thrown in among some that were extremely gross, or mostly ignorant. Dimitri could have a book all on his own, I suspect he has a little bit to learn about self confidence, and perhaps when it's best NOT to say exactly what is on his mind. The relationship between Dimitri and Audrey was classic brother and sister, I honestly have never seen a more true representation in any book. It seems that all of the books I've read recently, the siblings are almost like best friends, but here the relationship is more of an "I'm going to get on your nerves as much as possible, but in the end I've always got your back," kind of understanding.

    While I love music incorporated into books, the "music" in this book was very part and partial to the story in my opinion. Yeah, Seth creates this "anonymous" personality and hashes things out while whining, complaining, and coming to some honest revelations via podcasts, and pairs up his findings with music. I was just not feeling the music, on my end. I was too wrapped up in the other parts of the story I think.

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  • Posted November 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Hilarious & Heartfelt - I Couldn't Put It Down

    After losing his girlfriend, losing his job, and witnessing his dad out with a woman that is not his mother, Seth Baumgartner realizes that he is having a very bad day. The disintegration of love around him inspires Seth to start a podcast aptly titled The Love Manifesto, in which he is decidedly against love, but in his summer without love, Seth begins to realize that maybe it's there after all; you just have to look for it.

    Words cannot explain the awesomeness that is Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto. This is a gushing, glowing review filled with adoration and possible squeeing. Be prepared:

    Seth's journey to find out what love is and why we go back to after it tears us apart is heartfelt, touching, hilarious, and honest. Eric Luper writes with a fluidity and wit. His pop culture references lighten every page and make Seth, his best friend Dimitri, and Dimitri's sister Audrey feel like they are teenagers from down the street.

    Seth's bitterness towards love and his father's infidelity keep the story on track, despite the fact that every chapter holds some form of humor. We never forget that The Love Manifesto is about Seth's anti-love sentiment now that his heart has been broken. We don't forget, but Seth's day to day life left me rolling with laughter, smiling maniacally, and often snorting so loudly I woke my cat. Seth's soundtrack to his podcast had me scrolling through my iPod, hoping I had the songs to go along with what he was feeling, and lucky for me, I had more than a few of the songs.

    Seth Baumgartner's Love Manifesto is more than just a breakup story that begins in an Applebee's. It's about first loves, first losses, family, and the desire to feel like love has a purpose, that it is so much more than a kiss and a look. Luper put it best, love is important, and this is Seth's journey to find out why.

    Opening line(s): "Come on, Seth. Say something." ~ pg. 1

    Favorite line(s): I felt bad for Audrey back then. She looked so tiny, so thin and delicate. Things sure have changed. Nowadays, I suspect Audrey could handle herself in a saloon full of undead barbarian pirate ogres. ~ pg. 117-118

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    Posted June 19, 2010

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    Posted November 25, 2010

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    Posted December 20, 2010

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    Posted March 28, 2011

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