You can’t please everybody.  I knew that before reading King of the Screwups by K.L Going. Ms.Going, however is going to please a lot of people with her newest book.  I have read her other books and she just has a way of creating an engaging ensemble of characters in each book you read.

I like Liam Geller, the protagonist in this story.  He is Mr Popular.  You know the type -very good looking, knows how to dress, has his way with the ladies, excels at sports.  He is just an average student though and this disappoints his father to no end. His father is a CEO of this prestigious company and a member of mensa so you can imagine what an embarrassment it must be for him that his son does not take after him. Liam actually takes after his mom, a former runway model.  He has a great eye for fashion and this does not sit well with dear old dad.  His father absolutely believes that intelligence and discipline is what will get him far in life. Popularity and likeableness in high school will not help in the real world.  I beg to differ on that point….

I do not like Allan Geller.  Personally I think he is a horse’s ass.  The pressure he puts on his son is ridiculous.  Working in the school system, I see a lot of fathers like that.  Their kids are generally good kids, have potential but just feel like losers because they are buried under such crticsim and feel no love.  This  definately can be considered a coming of age story. Liam throughout this book discovers who he is and how to make it work. Going seamlessly combines much needed comic moments with some heartbreaking ones.  I think the intention of this book was to show that it is okay it is okay not to be perfect but what really came out is how damaging a parent’s high and sometimes unrealistic expectations can be on their child.

 Now I am not saying Liam is perfect, he does screw up and does some things that may make parents cringe but he is not an utter failure at everything.  I don’t think it was right to get drunk and pretty much have sex on his dad’s desk.  He was doing however what teenagers do but this last episode was the one that broke the camels back. This screwup gets him kicked out with a slim chance of ever returning.  His father has had enough of him and wants him out of the house. He has made arrangements for Liam to live with his grandparents but because they don’t care for him too much, Liam makes alternative arrangements to live with his Aunt Pete which angers his father even more. You see aunt Pete is a gay glam rock dj living in a small trailer , not exactly the role model for discipline that is father wants for Liam.  It turns out though the “Aunt” Pete and his colorful assortment of friends are  better role model for Liam than his dad will ever be by a country mile. 

And so begins Liams new life.  Here in Pineville NY where nobody knows him he can reinvent himself.  Here he could be a nerd, focus on academics like his father wants and just become someone that is father is proud of. Once is father sees how much he has changed he will surely take him back. The thing is no matter how hard he tried to be unpopular, people like him anyway. Well most people like him.  The only one that he wants admiration from is a girl that can’t stand him – Darleen, the girl next door.  

I know as I got furthur and furthur into the writing that I wanted Liam to succeed.  I needed Liam to succeed.  Darleen is right when she tells Liam that you can’t create love you have to take it where it happens…..