This book I bought for two or three pounds on Amazon, I think. Given it’s taken me something like three years to get round to reading it, I’m ashamed to say I never noticed it was a PUFFIN book. So I whipped through it, that’s what YA is for.
The story revolves around Josh Swensen: a shy, social outcast who’s also very, very smart. He has an online alter-ego named Larry, who is practically worshipped by his peers for his anti-consumerist stance. This was written in the early days of the mainstream Web, so I remember the scandal of hoaxes and people writing under false identities — I don’t think anyone would even blink these days if this happened (unless, of course, someone died as a result). The anti-consumerist movement was also gaining steam then. I remember having an Adbuster spoof Nike ad pinned up on my cubicle wall right around that time.
I thought the author did tackle issues that would make sense to teenagers and asks them to consider critical questions. Is being famous all it’s cracked up to be? Are we not spending enough time talking openly with the people we’re close to? When does an important issue become a caricature of itself?
A good read for teens, I think.