From the Publisher
"Rarely will you read something so lovingly vulgar, so fiercely warmhearted, and so exuberantly expansive . . . the culmination comes off like a teenage One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." -Booklist, starred review
"His narration is so easy and engaging, so sweet and funny, so astonishingly truthful that teens will rip through these 500-plus pages and want more." -School Library Journal, starred review
"Darkly comic . . . as troubled, relevant, relatable and hilarious as J.D. Salinger." -Los Angeles Times
High school senior Karl Shoemaker just wants to be normal. Since fourth grade, Karl has been unable to escape the stigma of the Madman Underground, a school therapy group for screwed-up kids (he earned the nickname "Psycho" after cutting up a classmate's rabbit in seventh grade). But with a drunken, hippie mom who believes that Nixon is in cahoots with aliens and who steals Karl's hard-earned money, a horde of pet cats that leave droppings everywhere and a claustrophobic hometown that still worships his deceased father (the former mayor), Karl's quest for normalcy seems doomed. In his YA debut, Barnes masterfully turns what should be a depressing tale about teenage misfits who are regularly abused, molested or neglected into a strangely heartwarming story about a kid who refuses to suck the lemons life keeps handing him, the bonds of friendship and the lengths a son will go to protect his mother. The language is R-rated, but with Breakfast Club-like realism, Barnes delivers scenes from which, like a car wreck, readers will be unable to look away. Ages 14-up. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.