Sucktown, Alaska

352p. ebook available. Switch Pr. May 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781630790554. POP
Gr 9 Up—Eddie has screwed up. He partied too hard and failed his first semester of college in Anchorage, AK. To rectify his mistakes, he agrees to take a 12-month job as a reporter at the Delta-Patriot newspaper in the "unromantic shithole" of Kusko, AK, located in the remote Yukon Delta. He lives with his boss, Dalton, and also helps Dalton take care of his sled dogs. All the while, Eddie plans to hide his expulsion from his father and brother until he can reenroll. There's little to like about Kusko other than Dalton's sled dogs; Eddie's neighbor friend Finn, who sells weed; and his love interest, Taylor, an overachieving high school senior. Soon, Eddie is flying out to neighboring villages to do reporting and begins to sell weed as a way to make money to leave Kusko sooner than planned. Each deal gets progressively worse, and Eddie messes with the wrong person, who has friends on the police force. Eddie wisely resolves to quit selling, but when Finn loses his job, Eddie makes an impulsive choice that lands him in big trouble. Dirkes sets the scene for an interesting story full of crass, realistic teenage boy humor. Fans of Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will be drawn to Dirkes's writing. The author effectively wraps up the narrative and its message about making good decisions.
VERDICT A strong addition for collections in need of funny YA.

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