wtf

wtf

3.7 67
by Peter Lerangis
     
 

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Two parties, six alternating points of view, and three letters that say it all: WTF! Now in a larger trim size, the gripping tale of an action-packed twenty-four hours.

Jimmy’s the driver. Cam’s the connection. Byron’s the know-it-all. Waits, the supplier. Reina’s the conscience and MC’s the crasher, and these six playersSee more details below

Overview

Two parties, six alternating points of view, and three letters that say it all: WTF! Now in a larger trim size, the gripping tale of an action-packed twenty-four hours.

Jimmy’s the driver. Cam’s the connection. Byron’s the know-it-all. Waits, the supplier. Reina’s the conscience and MC’s the crasher, and these six players are about to have a hell of a Friday night. Some are driven by lust, others by greed. One just wants to have fun, and another desires to be free. All of them will text their limits to the extreme.

And all of them will get what they want, if everything goes as planned. Which it won’t. Within twenty-four hours, bones will break, bodies will touch, hearts will race, guns will be drawn, and everything will go oh-so-very wrong…

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Action-packed from first page to last, this contemporary tale of a “deal-gone-wrong” rotates among six New York teenagers, including Cam, the instigator of a plan to sell drugs at a suburban party; Byron, his partner in crime; and Jimmy, who's just looking for a good time. The first stroke of bad fortune occurs when the boys' car crashes into a deer. Presuming Cam to be dead, his companions flee and are eventually separated. From that point on, Byron, Jimmy, and Cam (who survives with only minor injuries) embark on very different adventures, with danger and surprises around nearly every corner. The book's message, which remains hazy until the last few pages when ironies come to light, is overshadowed by bizarre events—cat-and-mouse chases, miraculous recoveries, convoluted plot twists, and farfetched confrontations. Lerangis (the Drama Club series) particularly delights in metaphor—one character's Long Island accent is “thick as Manischewitz,” and the boys' ill-fated car “was a big What's-Wrong-with-This scenario.” But while suspenseful, the book comes off as gimmicky, straining too hard to be hip. Both the characters and their motives remain underdeveloped. Ages 14–up. (Nov.)
Booklist
When a deer crashes through a windshield, it is only the first of many inexplicable (or "wtf") moments experienced during a long night in New York City for six teens from a prep school involved in a drug sale destined for disaster. That the "drugs" are really generic aspirin and that several want out of the business makes the evening even more surreal. Relationships shift and change as much as the narrators and the time frame -- each chapter identifies the narrator and the date and time, and there are some flashbacks and peeks ahead to keep readers on their toes. The patchwork image on the cover hints at plot points, and teens will be eager to see how Lerangis stitches them all together. The title reflects the hip and foul language of the very believable, smart urban teens, and the event-filled chases through the streets of Manhattan will remind readers of Rachel Cohn and David Levithan's Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (2006). An epilog provides details about what's next for each of these memorable characters.
—Cindy Dobrez
VOYA - Melissa Moore
Jimmy, Cam, and Byron are on their way to a party in a "borrowed" car when a deer appears from nowhere and changes their lives forever. Cam is left for dead because Jimmy fears being caught for driving without a license and Byron is worried about the drugs in his pocket, which must make it to a contact at the party, no matter what. The cops want to talk to Jimmy and to the drug supplier, Waits, but Waits is on the run from his mob connection and inadvertently involves Reina, Cam's girlfriend. Everything comes to a head at an all-night club owned by Reina's cousin. Written in ever-widening circles and loops, this novel's structure nearly becomes a character in its own right, lending an unpredictability and urgency to the events. The pacing of the story is well done, and when a chapter moves back to another character in a different place, clues help the reader to switch gears. The story takes place predominantly on one night (with only a few necessary flashbacks), making the read compulsive and surreal. Male and female characters from a variety of backgrounds will give the book broad appeal, perhaps especially to reluctant readers. Sex, drugs, and strong language are prevalent—as might be supposed by the title—along the lines of a Chris Crutcher book, giving an air of realism to a horrifying night. Reviewer: Melissa Moore
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Shortly after nine p.m. on a Friday evening in October, things fall apart for six young adults tangled together by drug deals, debts, and greed. The cinematic narrative flashes forward and back and alternates among the various characters' viewpoints over the course of one night. Lerangis's novel demonstrates how one stupid decision can have a wicked snowball effect that leaves everyone asking, "WTF"? Except that, more times than not, the acronym is not used. Fans of David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist (Knoft, 2006) will appreciate this even faster paced, smart-aleck-toned partying misadventure, and the steady action and short chapters will appeal to reluctant readers. The only real downfall is the enigmatic ending. Fortunately, the epilogue, which reads like a movie postscript, more than makes up for that flaw.—Terri Clark, Smoky Hill Library, Centennial, CO
Kirkus Reviews
Their party plans derailed after their car hits a deer, Jimmy and Byron leave their friend Cam for dead (he's not, really) in the driver's seat only to find themselves headed back into New York to hit up an exclusive nightclub with gatecrasher MC tagging along. Meanwhile Reina finds herself drawn to the same club in an effort to escape Waits, a prep-school burnout turned drug dealer. When the six acquaintances finally collide, the drama continues to unfold with rapid-fire chapter and perspective changes. Choppy editing and frantic pacing create the unwelcome sensation of reading at light speed. All the plot threads, from Cam's assumed demise to Waits's drug dealing to MC's drive to party, tie up in a saccharine knot, leaving readers with a forced and simple resolution. Lerangis's diction is adult, and those moments where he attempts teen speak are glaringly obvious. A miss. (Fiction. YA)
Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
One Plan, Two Parties, Six Players: Jimmy the driver, Cam the disconnect, Byron the know-it-all, Waits the supplier, Reina the conscience, and MC the crasher. On one Friday night these six will test their limits to the extreme. Some are driven by lust, others by greed. One just wants to have fun, and another desires to be free. If everything goes as planned, they all get what they want, but within twenty-four hours, bones will break, bodies will touch, hearts will race, guns will be drawn, and everything will go very wrong. It is action-packed story about teenagers and a drug deal that goes wrong. They hit a tree and everyone flees, and they are separated. Somewhat suspenseful, the book has problems with the characters and problems in coming-together. Some of it is bizarre and some hard-to-follow. Some may think it is thrilling suspenseful and some too gimmicky. The cover and other format is certainly inviting even though it predicts the gruesome tale. Reviewer: Naomi Butler

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439160626
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Publication date:
11/10/2009
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
854,519
Lexile:
HL630L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
14 Years

Read an Excerpt

3

9:09 p.m.

"Jesus, it's still alive!"

Byron's voice. From the backseat.

Byron was okay.

Jimmy jumped up from the road. He struggled to keep upright, his leg numb. He spat his mouth clean as he made his way around the car. Through the side window he could see Byron's silhouette, peering over the front seat. Jimmy looked through the driver's side window. The deer's back was enormous, matted with blood and flecks of windshield. Under it he could make out only the right side of Cam's body from the shoulder down, but not his face. Cam was completely smothered.

"Oh God, Jimmy, what did you do?" Byron said.

"I — I don't know....It just, like, appeared!" Jimmy had to grip the side of the car to keep from falling, or flying away, or completely disintegrating. He blinked, trying desperately to find the right angle, hoping to see a sign that Cam was alive. "Push it, Byron — push it off!"

"It's a monster — how the fuck am I supposed to push it? Shit, Jimmy, how could you have not seen it?"

"I did!" Jimmy screamed. "I braked. I tried to get out of the way — "

"Dickwad! You tried to outmaneuver a deer? You don't brake! That makes the grill drop lower — lifts the animal right up into the car, like a fucking spoon! You just drive. That way you smack it right back into the woods."

"If you know so much, why weren't you driving?"

"With what license?"

"I don't have one either!"

"You told me you did!"

"I never told you that! I just said I knew how to drive. I never took the test — "

"Oh, great — the only person in Manhattan our age who knows how to drive, and you don't bother to get a license." Byron leaned closer, suddenly looking concerned. "Jesus Christ, what happened to your mouth?"

"It's what I get for applying lipstick without a mirror — "

"Awwww, shit!" Byron was looking at something in his hand. "My BlackBerry's totaled."

"How can you think about your BlackBerry while Cam is under the deer?"

Byron looked up with a start, then immediately leaped out of the car. "Oh fuck, Cam. Is he dead?"

"'Oh fuck, Cam'? You just noticed him? You're yelling at me, and you just thought of Cam?" Jimmy's hands trembled as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket. "I'm calling 911."

"No, don't!" Byron said, snatching the phone from Jimmy's hand.

"Are you crazy?" Jimmy said. "What's wrong with you?"

"We're in East Dogshit and the GPS is busted — do you even know what road we're on? What are you going to tell the cops? Um, there's this tree? And, like, a ditch? And a road? And then what, we wait? We don't have time, Jimmy!"

"But — "

"Think it through, Einstein. What's your story? One, you wrecked a car that's not yours. Two, you don't have a license. Three, you killed a deer. And four, look at Cam. You planning to go to Princeton and room with Rhodes scholars? How about a guy with three teeth who can't wait for you to bend over? Because if we don't stop talking, dude, you're facing murder charges."

"He's not dead, Byron — "

"Just put the fucking phone away and let's get Bambi off Cam." Byron threw Jimmy the phone and raced to the back of the car. "Throw me the keys. I'll get a rope out of the trunk. When I give you back the keys, get in the car."

Jimmy reached into the car, tossing the phone onto the dashboard. Quickly removing the keys from the steering column, he threw them to Byron. He eyed the driver's seat. The deer was still moving, still trying to get away. No way was he going back in there.

But he couldn't abandon Cam.

If only he could think straight. His brain was useless.

In that moment, he was picturing a cloud of small, hungry ticks hovering over the front seat. He tried to shake it off, but it was like some weird psychological hijacking brought on by his mother's lifelong vigil over the mortal threat posed by proximity to deer, which turned every suburban outing into a preparation for war.

"What are you fucking worried about, Lyme's disease?" Byron shouted. "Get in there!"

Jimmy cringed. "It's Lyme," he muttered, grabbing the door handle. "Not Lyme's."

"What?" Byron shouted.

"Nothing. What am I supposed to do — in the car?"

"What the fuck do you think you're supposed to do?"

As if in response, the deer gave a sudden shudder. Jimmy jumped back, stifling a scream. "I — I'm not sure..."

"When I give the word, put it in reverse, Jimmy. And gun it."

Byron yanked open the trunk and threw the keys to Jimmy, who kept a wary eye on the deer as he opened the door. It was motionless now, its snout resting just below the gear shift.

As Jimmy climbed inside, the car rocked with Byron's efforts to shove stuff under the rear tires for traction.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Jimmy tried to stop himself from hyperventilating. He eyed Cam's feet, blinking back tears. He had never liked Cam, or any of the smart-ass jocks who treated the Speech Team kids like they were some kind of lower life-form. Since freshman year he had devoted a lot of time conjuring horrible fates for most of them, fates not unlike this.

In...Out...

Jimmy hadn't wanted to go on this drive. It was Byron who'd pushed the idea. Cam wants us to go, Cam says suburban parties are the best ever, Cam says Westchester chicks are hot for NYC guys. Cam wants to be friends. It would be stupid to miss a chance at détente between the worlds of sports and geekdom.

In...

Until this time, Jimmy couldn't imagine that Byron would be friends with a guy like Cam. Byron the potty-mouthed genius, Cam the football guy. Was this some kind of crush? Was that the reason for —

"Wake up, douche bag!" Byron shouted. "Now! Go!"

With his foot on the brake, Jimmy threw the car in reverse. The accelerator was touching the bottom of the caved-in dashboard. Carefully, he wedged his foot in and floored it.

The engine roared to life, the tires gripping the debris. As the car lurched backward, the deer's head rose slowly off the seat with the force of the rope. Something warm spattered against the side of Jimmy's face.

"AAAGHH!" he screamed, yanking his foot away from the accelerator.

"WHAT?" Byron cried, running around the side of the car. "Why'd you stop? We almost had it!"

"It puked on me!"

Byron shone a flashlight into the front seat. "It's not puke. It's blood."

"Oh, great..." Jimmy's stomach flipped. This couldn't be happening!

"Here. This'll protect you." Byron was throwing something over the animal's head — a rag, a blanket, it was impossible to see. "Don't think about it, Jimmy. Just step on it! And put on your seat belt."

Jimmy felt a lightness in his head. His eyes were crossing. Focus.

He buckled his belt and put the car in reverse again, slipping his foot under the wreckage of the dashboard. As he floored it, the car began to move, the engine roaring. The animal's hulk rose up beside him, away from him — scraping across the bottom of the windshield, slowly receding out of the car and onto the hood.

The blanket fell off the deer's head, as the carcass finally slipped off, the car jerked backward.

SMMMMACK!

Jimmy's head whipped against the headrest. He bounced back, his chest catching the seat belt and knocking the wind out of him.

"Are you okay?" Byron cried.

"Fah — fah — " Everything was white. Jimmy struggled to breathe, his eyes slowly focusing on the image in the rearview mirror, the twisted metal of a guardrail reflecting against the taillights.

Byron was leaning in the open passenger window, training a flashlight on the dim silhouette of Cam's lifeless body, now freed from the deer. "This does not look good...." he said.

"Is his chest moving?"

"I don't know! I don't think so, but I can't — " In the distance a muffled siren burst through the rain's din. Byron drew back, shutting the flashlight. "Shit! Did you call them?"

"No!" Jimmy said.

"Then how do they know?"

Jimmy thought about the red pickup. "Someone drove past us, just after the accident. Maybe they called."

"Someone saw us?"

"This is a New York suburb. Occasionally people drive on the roads."

"Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, shit. Oh, God." Byron was backing away from the car, disappearing into the darkness.

"I'm the one who's supposed to be freaking out, not you!" Jimmy leaned toward Cam's inert body, his hands shaking. The cold rain, evaporating against his body, rose up in smoky wisps. Don't be dead don't be dead please please please please don't be dead.

"C-C-Cam?" Jimmy slapped Cam's cheek and shook his massive shoulders, but Cam was limp and unresponsive. His body began to slip on the rain-slicked seat, falling toward the driver's side. Jimmy tried to shove back, but he was helpless against the weight. Cam's head plopped heavily in Jimmy's lap.

"Aaaaghhh!" He pushed open the door, jumped out, and looked around for Byron. "I think he's...he's..."

The siren's wail was growing closer. How would he explain this? You see, officer, in New York City no one gets a license until they're in college. But my dad taught me to drive on weekends, on Long Island. No, I don't have the registration either. The car belongs to — belonged to...him...the deceased.

He'd have to get out of here before they came. He looked past the car. There was a gully, a hill. It was pitchblack. He could get lost in the night.

Asshole! No, the cops would figure it out. Fingerprints. Friends knew he was driving — Reina Sanchez, she had to know. She was all over Cam. She'd tell them. So it wouldn't only be manslaughter. It would also be leaving the scene of the crime. What was that? Life in prison?

Stay or go, he was screwed either way. Because of a deer. A fucking stupid deer. Without the deer, everything would have been all right.

"BYRON!" he shouted.

In the distance he heard Byron retching, with characteristic heroism.

Cam was now slumped into the driver's seat, his right shoulder touching the bottom of the steering wheel.

He used me. He convinced Byron to get me to drive so he could go to a party. And now he will never ever be accountable. Because he's...

Dead. He was dead. He would never move again, never talk.

And that opened up several possibilities, some of which were

Unthinkable.

An idea was taking shape cancerously fast among his battered brain cells. If you were thinking something, it wasn't unthinkable — that was Goethe, or maybe Wittgenstein, or Charlie Brown. The idea danced between the synapses, on the line between survival and absolute awfulness, presenting itself in a sick, Quentin Tarantino way that made perfect sense.

It was Cam's dad's car. It would be logical that Cam would be driving it.

No one will know.

He grabbed Cam's legs. They were heavy, dead weight. He pulled them across the car toward the driver's side, letting Cam's butt slide with them — across the bench seat, across the pool of animal blood and pebbled glass.

Jimmy lifted Cam into an upright position, but his body fell forward, his torso resting hard against the steering wheel.

HONNNNNNNNNNNK!

The sound was ridiculously loud. Around the bend, distant headlights were making the curtain of rain glow. No time to fix this now.

Jimmy bolted for the woods.

"What are you doing?" Byron called out of the dark. He was standing now, peering into the car. "Jesus Christ! You're trying to make it look like Cam drove? What if he's alive? He'll tell them you were driving!"

Jimmy stopped, frantically looking around for something blunt. He stooped to pick up a rusted piece of tailpipe, maybe a foot long. It would do the trick. He knelt by the driver's door and drew it back.

"JIMMY, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FUCKING MIND?"

Byron's eyes were like softballs. He grabbed Jimmy's arm.

Jimmy let the tailpipe fall to the ground. He felt his brain whirling, his knees buckling. He felt Byron pulling him away.

As the cop cars squealed to a halt near the blaring car, he was moving fast but feeling nothing.

Copyright © 2009 by Peter Lerangis

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