You'll Never Guess the End

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Joel Greenberg's life is not easy. While he's getting good grades, walking the dog and helping the homeless, his handsome older brother, a college dropout and until recently a concern to his affluent Manhattan parents, is now a bestselling author. As his parents watch JJstet on talk shows with undisguised pride, Joel is having a ``small silent nervous breakdown.'' But Joel finds a new purpose in life when JJ's wealthy ex-girlfriend is kidnapped and no one seems to be able to find her--not even with the help of a psychic. Joel's solution to the mystery lives up to the novel's arch title. The satiric wit in this fast-paced novel will entertain readers, and while some of the elements are farfetched, Joel's idiosyncratic take on contemporary themes and values (including media hype and interest in the occult) provide a fresh, comical and gently mocking point of view. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-- Sophomore Joel thinks he may be having a private nervous breakdown because his coke dealing, dropout brother J. J. has be come the apple of their parents' eyes by writing a trite, but trendy, best seller. Life just doesn't seem fair to Joel, who doesn't do drugs, makes good grades, and feeds homeless people in the park. When J. J.'s rich, beautiful, but vapid girlfriend is kidnapped, Joel decides to investi gate and becomes a prisoner himself. Wersba has populated her sophisticated New York set ting with some oddball primary and secondary characters. Neither the victim nor the kidnap pers are quite what they seem, and a hopelessly spoiled bloodhound renders great service in his own inept fashion. Simple but effective lan guage and an enticing first-person narrative swirl readers through a maze of funny and suspenseful plot elements, making this a de lightful romp. Wersba carefully ladles each character's ration of the good, the absurd, and the disappointing, reminding readers that hu manity is a mixed, but fascinating, bag. As in The Carnival in My Mind (1982), Crazy Vanilla (1986), and The Best Place to Live Is on the Ceiling (1990, all HarperCollins), a vulnerable, lonely, sometimes awkward male protagonist is propelled by the dysfunction within his fami ly to aid an alluring female. Wersba's latest offering has more humor, less angst, and a satisfying ending.-- Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY )
Janice Del Negro
In this lightweight novel, Wersba gives us a send-up of the New York literary scene, rich dilettantes, and Scientology. With the help of his bloodhound, Sherlock, Joel Greenberg is looking for his brother J. J.'s old girlfriend, Marilyn, a beautiful, somewhat featherbrained heiress who's been kidnapped. Joel suspects his brother, newly famous with a first novel on the "New York Times"' best-seller list. When Marilyn's father refuses to pay the ransom, Joel sets Sherlock on the scent of Marilyn's perfume. The idea is less than successful, however, and it is only by accident that Joel discovers Marilyn's true fate. Characterizations are shallow, and the New York in-jokes may mean little to junior high readers, but the first-person narrative has overtones of a suspense thriller, and there's a little Keystone Cops humor thrown in for laughs.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060204495
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/1992
  • Series: A Charlotte Zolotow Bk.
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 12 years

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