Wednesday, February 10, 2016

YA Pick: It's All Your Fault

It's All Your Fault
by Paul Rudnick
Scholastic Press
304 pages
ISBN: 9780545464970

Unstoppable satire, perfect profanity, bad girl behavior, good girl sanctimonious speech, fangirl furor, teen trilogy madness, what more could you want in a YA book?

Good Christian, homespun and home schooled, knee socks wearing, family singing group songstress, Bible thumping Caitlin Mary Prudence Rectitude Singleberry is approached by her crazy Aunt Nancy.  Cousin Heller Harrigan grew up a kid show sensation, Anna Banana. Now cast as Lynnea, the Chosen Winglet, in the Hollywood blockbuster movie "Angel Wars," Heller is hitting rock bottom. She's out of control with boys, booze and drugs. Nancy begs Caitlin to take the job of "babysitter" until Heller gets off the press tour. It will be Catey's good influence that will keep Heller on the straight and narrow ( Yeah, right).

Chapter titles are hilarious! "The Highway to Heller" contains this gem of conversation. "No one under the age of eighteen needs a cell phone unless they're a surgeon, drug dealer, or a prostitute." To which Heller replies, "Wouldn't it be incredible to be all three?" The girls' chemistry is believable and laugh out loud funny. Catey tries to get Heller to lay off cussing like a sailor. She is so salty, she could out cuss most sailors! Catey tells Heller to say the name of any town in New Jersey when she wants to cuss. Like "Weehawken!" Heller tries and comes up with, "Go Teaneck yourself, you Dunellen piece of  ###$$$$$$ Mount Kittatinny!" Heller's ability to come up with spot on curses at every turn  is her greatest achievement!

Every time Caitlin is introduced to any "cool" Hollywood people, they always ask her the same question, "Are you homeschooled?" Her ubiquitous knee socks make quite the impression. Later, Caitlin finds herself reveling in the spotlight. She wonders if she is sinning by acting in such a n un-Christian way. She begins to crush on the male lead of "Angel Wars" and since he's on the same press junket, she sees him all the time.

Just when you think Heller is a possessed, evil, maniacal, crazy, rude sociopath, she comes clean. She admits to Catey the reason why she began to unravel. The spotlight made her life bigger than life, so that when the filming was over, she had all this energy and nowhere to put it. In fact, at her bleakest Heller planned suicide. She had pills, white wine, and weed all "...lined up on ...Buddhist altar..." which Heller says, "...was sort of like the menu for a suicide buffet , or an LA kid's birthday party, if you added a clown who'd bring flourless brownies and soy milk."

Once Heller admits that she missed Catey for all these years, they get along. Enter cancer patient Sophie. She convinces the girls to help her carry out her plan for exiting this life. When the girls attempt Sophie's wishes, hilarity ensues with  grand theft auto, tattoos, body piercings, gun toting, scaring off armed robbers who have a sawed off shotgun, weird hair, kissing a boy, and flashing a trucker.

The cover is clever and eye-catching. Nice job of packaging this hilarious romp!

Paul Rudnick has just  taken his place among witty YA writers Andrew Smith and Libba Bray.

Highly, highly recommended grade 9-up. NOT for middle school. Profanity, sex, drugs and rock and roll.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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