Book review by Aarene Storms: How to Get Suspended and Influence People

Saturday, August 27, 2011

By Aarene Storms, Youth Services Librarian, Richmond Beach Library, KCLS

"How to Get Suspended and Influence People" by Adam Selzer

14-year-old Leon sarcastically narrates the events that result when he decides to make an avant-garde sex ed movie as an assignment for his "gifted and talented" class. Leon's video is weird but comforting, irrational but informative...and very quickly, banned at school.

Quick, quirky, and fun, Leon and his classmates address some common contradictions found in public schools, where masturbation is often called normal but more often considered vulger, where nudity may be classical but still censored, and where kids and adults will never see eye-to-eye.

This fast-paced novel will appeal to middle readers who wonder what "normal" is and if they will ever be it. Ages 12 to 16. No violence, some cuss words, frequent references to nudity, body parts, and all the other things that absolutely fascinate 14-year-old boys. This book has a few on-page kisses, but everyone stays fully clothed, even when the garage blows up.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true. --R. Silvern


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