King Dork Approximately

368p. Delacorte. Sept. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780385736183; lib. ed. $20.99. ISBN 9780385905916; ebk. ISBN 9780375985676.
Gr 10 Up—High school sophomore, aspiring rock star, and self-proclaimed outsider Tom Henderson is back in the sidesplitting follow-up to Portman's acclaimed King Dork (Random, 2006). The book opens with Tom being sent to a new school in the wake of the shutdown of his old school—this time without the benefit of his bandmate and partner in crime Sam Hellerman. New horizons provide more humorous opportunities for Tom to cast a snarky eye over all he sees, from Little Big Tom, the teen's hapless and deeply uncool stepfather, to Clearview High, where school spirit reigns supreme. Portman has crafted a perceptive protagonist, whose brilliantly wry observations will keep readers laughing and whose voice is infused with an all-too-believable mix of innocence and cynicism. An typical adolescent boy despite his intelligence and depth, Tom is realistically frank, dropping in sexual jokes and thoughts, along with the references to rock artists and musicians. The author excels at description and tone, though it's often at the expense of plot. The book introduces a number of amusingly sketched characters and plot threads, few of which culminate into actual story lines. There are also a number of references to events in the first book, which may be confusing to those who haven't read King Dork. Quibbles aside, Tom is a winsome character who rings true and whose escapades will keep readers engaged.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
In this sequel, "King Dork" Tom narrates his transfer to a new school, various dating exploits, and continuing exploration of his deceased father's bookshelf in the series' signature solipsistic stream-of-consciousness style. The distinct voice, with its cutting absurdism, retro references, and streaks of misogyny, is an inadequate counterweight to a meandering plot that is more concerned with cleverness than meaning. Discography. Glos.

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