Willey, Margaret Beetle Boy. Carolrhoda Lab (Lerner Publishing), 2014. ISBN 9781467726399. 198p. $17.95. Gr. 9–up. P5 Q6
Charlie Porter’s dad is an abusive, opportunistic, and self-absorbed gadfly who parlays Charlie’s precocious writing talents into making him a star at age 7, “the youngest published author ever.” We meet 18-year-old Charlie as he is couch-surfing and the tale is told through tortuous flashbacks. In the end, Charlie’s low self-esteem and reticence undermines his relationships and he has to confront past issues, but there’s no resolution or reason. While the book has much promise, it never really delivers; characters are predictable and lack dimension and the plot goes nowhere.
October 2015 review by L.F., NHS Staff