Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

You Don't Know About Me

You Don't Know About Me

4.0 2
by Brian Meehl

See All Formats & Editions

Sixteen-year-old Billy Allbright is about to bust out of his sheltered cocoon and go on a gonzo road trip. He just doesn't know it yet. His ticket to freedom? A mysterious Bible containing two resurrection stories. The second is about a man Billy's never met, and who is supposedly dead: his father.
But the road to a risen-from-the-grave dad, and the unusual


Sixteen-year-old Billy Allbright is about to bust out of his sheltered cocoon and go on a gonzo road trip. He just doesn't know it yet. His ticket to freedom? A mysterious Bible containing two resurrection stories. The second is about a man Billy's never met, and who is supposedly dead: his father.
But the road to a risen-from-the-grave dad, and the unusual inheritance he promises, is far from straight. Billy zigzags across the American West in a geocaching treasure hunt. When his journey includes a runaway baseball star, nudists who perform sun dances, a girl with neon green body parts, and con artists who blackmail him into their "anti-action movie," Billy soon realizes that the path to self-discovery is mega off-road.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Meehl (Suck It Up) draws inspiration from an American classic in this thought-provoking, often philosophical coming-of-age tale. Almost 16, Billy has spent his entire life traveling with his mother and fighting the good fight as "ninja warriors for the Lord." While Billy is secure in his faith and a willing crusader, he's ready to give up homeschooling for high school and lead a normal, nonnomadic life. The arrival of a message from his (supposedly dead) father gives Billy the impetus to break free and go on a wild road trip. Led by clues hidden in a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he travels cross-country, finding an unlikely traveling companion in Ruah Branch, a closeted gay black, professional baseball player. Billy and Ruah's friendship is tested by religious and personal beliefs, forcing Billy to rethink everything he's ever known. Throw in a trip to Burning Man, a pair of con artists, and the legendary sequel to Huckleberry Finn, and you have a recipe for a story both strange and wonderful. Meehl doesn't pull any punches as his characters undergo their own journeys to freedom in this powerful, intelligent tale. Ages 14–up. (May)
Children's Literature - Laura J. Brown
Sixteen-year-old Billy Allbright wanted two things more than anything: to attend high school and to become a professional dirt biker. He was homeschooled by his mother, Tilda, a self-proclaimed warrior for Jesus who stamps out the devil whenever and however she sees fit. His mother's mission was the reason why they moved from town to town, avoiding paying fines his mother could not afford to pay, and staying out of jail. Once Billy saw the high school in Independence, MO, their new town, he was determined to attend high school. He went to the school and it was closed for the summer, but he learned from a flyer when school would begin. Unfortunately he met some guys there that didn't like his bike and had a confrontation that didn't go well for him. When Tilda saw him, she went bananas and told him there was no way he was going to a sinful high school and insisted that he go to Bible Camp. They argued and his mother prayed for a sign. The next day, the sign came. It was big black leather bound Bible for Billy. It was from someone his mother told him was dead a long time ago—his father. Billy's life changes, as he goes on an adventure to find what his now, truly dead father, has left for him. Reviewer: Laura J. Brown
Kirkus Reviews
Home-schooled 16-year-old Jesus freak Billy Allbright leaves his overprotective mom to embark on a geocaching treasure hunt through the western United States. His aim? To uncover the truth about his dead Mark Twain–scholar father and to locate a valuable manuscript Twain supposedly penned as the sequel toThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. References to the classic run (amok) from the obvious—a lovable, gay, African-American major-league baseball player sidekick named Ruah—to more subtle ones that connect religion, gender and love. Despite some roadblocks, Meehl spins a complex, thought-provoking plot in which the duo's spiritual journeys mirror their physical hunt.The meat lies in their heady conversations on the road. These platitude-filled interludes on religion and sexuality go on for pages, however, and may cause readers to skip to get to the action. Characterizations occasionally feel uneven, especially when Billy makes references to things likeSparkNotesand technology that neither his mother nor his background would allow. Meehl also occasionally stumbles over language: Billy's dad leaves clues in the form of hokey, clunky, rhyming couplets that link Twain's work to the hunt.Still, the work's ambition is admirable, and readers who have grown tired of the supernatural and the dystopic will be thrilled to sink their teeth and their brains into reality.(Fiction. 14 & up)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, March 14, 2011:
"Meehl doesn't pull any punches as his characters undergo their own journeys to freedom in this powerful, intelligent tale."

School Library Journal
Gr 8–10—Billy Allbright, 16, has spent most of his life on the road with his mother as self-proclaimed members of the "New J-Brigade," an itinerant Christian organization of two bent on "playing Whac-a-Mole with the devil." Itching to attend a real high school, Billy plans to petition his mother for more freedom when he receives a mysterious package from the father he had been told was dead. It contains a fancy Bible; hidden in it are a DVD and the first pages of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The DVD is of Billy's father, who, speaking from his deathbed, invites his son to geocache across the country in search of a valuable unpublished novel by Mark Twain, so Billy sets off to follow his father's clues wherever they might lead. En route, he forms an unexpected partnership with a black professional baseball player grappling with his decision to come out, who agrees to chauffeur the teen on his scavenger hunt if the boy agrees to read Huck Finn aloud to him. Although united by their Christianity, Ruah's theology is more liberal than Billy's, and the two clash over Ruah's sexuality and philosophy, occasionally separating them but always meeting back up again. This road-trip story is not representative of traditional Christianity as Ruah's more liberal interpretations of the Bible ("God is greater than any sin I can commit, even if it's being gay.") are favored here. Meehl's novel is a slow starter but is good-hearted and, though the story suffers from its characters' belabored exegesis of Huck Finn and the Bible, the pace picks up as it nears its conclusion.—Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.50(d)
HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


The Facts of Me

At the beginning of last summer I had a grip on the facts of me.

• Born Charles William Allbright
• August 29, 1994
• Little Rock, Arkansas
• Dream: to be a champion mountain biker

I didn't stay in Little Rock long. I didn't stay anywhere long. In my almost sixteen years of life, me and Mom had moved sixteen times. Some kids get their height penciled on doorframes as they get taller. My height got marked on the old U-Haul trailer that followed us everywhere. On my eleventh birthday I shrank an inch. Then we figured out that the U-Haul tires had been pumped up. Had a laugh over that one.

I never liked moving. I was always the NIT: the Newbie In Town. Whenever I made a friend, I knew he'd never be a best buddy. Best buds are for life. We moved too much to have anything for life. Except the F-word: "faith."

Mom gave me the same pep talk whenever we moved. "Billy, God blessed you with more than the cornerstones of a house. He's given you a compass with four cardinal points." My cardinal points weren't north, south, east, west. They were Mother, Christ, Bible, homeschool. Mom said as long as I followed those points I'd never be lost. I'd walk in His Way. I'd Son-up.

When we hit a new town, the first thing we did was church-shop. It was Mom's version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears." This church was too sinful. This church wasn't Spirit-filled enough. This church was juuust righteous. So we'd join it. We'd be dialed into it for a while, but sooner or later she'd find something wonky and wicked about our church. One time she stood up during Sunday service and shouted scripture: "I have hated the congregation of evildoers and will not sit with the wicked!" As she pulled me out of there I asked her what made them "evildoers." She told me I was too young to understand.

Last July, a month before turning sixteen, I totally got why we left the Assembly of Assemblies Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After we joined Assembly of Assemblies, the pastor let a company put a cell tower in the steeple. Mom had no problem with the company paying the church big bucks to have a comm tower in their steeple. But hellfire hit the fan when she found out that some of the stuff zapping through the tower was pornography. I couldn't fault her on that one. When you're in church launching prayers to heaven, you don't want them scummed by a layer of triple-X fornication. Mom calls it the "pornosphere." That's one of the cool things about being homeschooled. You learn things go-to-school kids don't. I learned about the stratosphere, the troposphere, and the pornosphere.

And that's just what happens when you start thinking about the pornosphere. It's like trail biking behind a bike bunny on a bumpy track. Her jiggly parts make you dizzy and you go blind to the real bumps. It's one of the rigid rules of mountain biking: Beware of male blindness; it leads to the kiss of dirt.

Okay, I'm jumping ahead. Back to the facts of me, and the how and why of me bombing into the world.

In the summer of 1993, when Mom was single, and still Tilda Hayes, she belonged to a fundamentalist group called the Jesus Brigade. One weekend, the J-Brigade got on one of those riverboats that go up and down the Mississippi. The boat was filled with sinful gamblers. The J-Brigade was there to witness for Christ, especially to gamblers with empty pockets and empty hearts.

While Mom was witnessing to this one gambler, his heart swung wide open. By the time she turned him from his evil ways he was not only slain by the Lord, he was slain by Tilda Hayes. After that, he joined the J-Brigade and joined Tilda at the altar. His name was Richard Allbright. He was so in love with her, and Jesus, that he quickly became a reverend. Not the kind who goes to school and gets a degree. The kind who gets a tricked-out piece of paper in the mail and starts circuit preaching in one-room churches in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

After they got married Tilda got pregnant. As she was belly-packing me around she said she had a real good feeling and a real bad feeling. The good feeling came from me pedaling around inside her. The bad feeling came from watching her husband's preaching star rise too fast. One day, when her bad feeling was super bad, she did one of her providence checks. She was going to find out what the Lord had in store. She shut her eyes and prayed till she felt the Spirit. She opened her Bible, finger-planted on a verse, and looked to see what God had to tell her. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted. Mom's heart trembled.

The next day, my father was driving home after a week on the circuit. He got caught in a hailstorm but kept hammering for Little Rock. Taking a corner, his car left the road and plunged into the Arkansas River. He tried to get out. He didn't. His spirit went to heaven. According to Mom, so much of his body went to the catfish that when they found his car there wasn't enough left of Richard Allbright to bury. He never got a grave we could visit.

I didn't even know what my father looked like. All his pictures were torched in a trailer fire when I was a baby. The fire incinerated the paper that made him a reverend too, and the family Bible recording their marriage and my birth.

But my father wasn't like one of those metal bits that chips off inside your bike frame and you can't get to; my father wasn't unobtanium. The stories Mom told me about meeting him on the riverboat and watching him preach in tiny churches put a movie in my head. She said I even looked like him. Especially my nose, a big beak of a thing. To see him all I had to do was stand in front of the mirror and age-up. I'd slick down my stick-up hair. I'd use a piece of charcoal to smear on a five o'clock shadow. I'd squint till things got blurry. And there he'd be: Reverend Richard Allbright, behind his pulpit. I'd push my voice down and preach a sermon on anything in the Bible. If there was one thing Reverend Allbright and his son knew, it was the Good Book. It was our cardinal point.

Meet the Author

Brian Meehl is the award-winning author of five novels, including the vampire comedies, Suck It Up and Suck It Up and Die. He enjoyed a successful career writing for television, winning three Emmys, and performing Muppets on "Sesame Street" and in Jim Henson films, including "The Dark Crystal." While he's currently finishing up the next two books in his Blowback trilogy, Brian welcomes visitors to his websites, blowbacktrilogy.com and brianmeehl.com.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

You Don't Know About Me 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Add me if you have this book PLEASE!!!!!!
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Billy Albright is sixteen years of age and has moved sixteen times since his birth. His mother is a religious 'nut' who travels from city to city, and town to small town, trying to find the best place to live and worship. They've had to leave towns quite suddenly throughout the years for various reasons including once when they were clearing a local Piggly Wiggly grocery store of 'evil' items (i.e. devil's food cake, devil dogs, etc.) Mother was once part of the Jesus Brigade a long time ago, where her group protested on a 'riverboat' trying to convince people that betting money was a sin. While there, Mom reformed a gambler and married him. This gambler immediately got a reverend's license and began preaching. Unfortunately, Dad became well-known and began to speak all over the country in front of religious audiences, but ended up dead in the Arkansas River after a car accident. Ever since, Billy has been raised by Mom where his life centers around Mom, Bible, Christ, and Homeschooling. But Billy wants with all his heart to attend normal school, deal with normal everyday issues, and make friends. Mom and Billy ride into the seventeenth town that they've lived in called Independence, Missouri. They are, hopefully, entering into a "non-sinning" world and Mom is intent on finding a good Christian church with good, solid people. All Billy thinks about is growing up and leaving his mother's harsh rules far behind. He wants nothing more than to be a professional mountain biker and thinks only of the future that he wishes would get here. As they settle in Independence, Billy runs across a gang of kids and finds himself up against a group who is anything but Christian, as well as receiving a mystery gift in the mail containing a fancy bible and a DVD. Hiding the DVD from his Mom, Billy watches the odd movie and realizes that the message is from his father - a man who didn't die in a car accident after all. As Billy steps into a car, the road trip that he goes on is a true journey of faith as he tries to track down his father, and find the inheritance that the DVD has promised is out there for him. Along the way, Billy meets a cast of characters including runaways, nudists, con artists, and more. The author has done a good job offering a story of true self-discovery. Although the novel is a bit long in places, and here and there becomes a bit "over the top," it is a good story that shows a "Huckleberry Finn" modern tale of adventure, fun, entertainment, and self-worth. Quill Says: A learning experience for all readers that shows the world through a young man's eyes; a young man who is growing up and finding his own way in the big, bad world.