SUMMARY (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Did you know that in imperial china, eunuchs had their testicles, penis and scrotum removed?
Olivia does. She's done the research--after walking in on her dad fooling around with one of his grad students. On her ay to an arts summer camp at Yale University, she's decided to write a musical called Castration Celebration.
Max, on the other hand, is a big fan of the penis--intact. As an actor, he always has the right line, especially for the ladies. He's going to camp to hone his skills, both acting and otherwise. And when Olivia and Max meet...oh, the drama! Olivia and Max have their roles down pat. Before camp is over, they'll preform Olivia's musical onstage and in real life--though the ending may turn out different than either expects.
OPINION: 4 STARS
Okay, I admit- while reading this, I often gawked and tried to figure out exactly why it is a teen book. In many ways, I think Random House was ballsy on this one- no pun intended. It is lewd, crass, risque- but underneath all that, it actually does have a good plot and weaves a good story. While this isn't necessarily a book I would feel comfortable holding a giveaway for (though I did get it from a contest from Princess Bookie), I still wouldn't flat out say no, don't read it. This is one that could be controversial and I can see many parents not wanting their kids to read although really, despite how focused on sex it is- I think it is a good read and actually has a moral, etc, plus I also really enjoyed the humor despite the subject. Wizner had quite a few puns and double meanings going on.
Sex, obviously, runs rampant in this book- the majority of it is sexual innuendos, references, banter, etc. But with songs like 'Castration Celebration,' 'I'm In Love With Dick,' and 'Horny,' you should expect nothing less. There is plenty of drug use- however, this book also does a great job of showing the bad side of both things and face it, in this day and age, both of these subjects ran rampant with teenagers.
The stereotypes of the horny teenage boys, the sluttish girls, and the girls who feel like losers because they don't want to go out and get drunk and hook up with random guys are stereotypes for a reason because they are common groups of teens. We all know its rough being a teen- you are getting hit in every direction and I think this book, while certainly crass, did a good of tying it all together.
While the characters were not particularly strong, I still enjoyed the story. It focuses mostly on two people but there are several other characters who play pretty big roles throughout the book. They all have different personalities and though none of them show any extreme growth, I actually didn't think it detracted too much from the over all story.
The layout is interested- Olivia is writing a musical called 'Castration Celebration' and that entire plot line is told within this book. It is essentially two plots in one and though she does find inspiration in real life, it still holds separate instances as well and I found myself wanting to know the ends of both plots.
My favorite part of this book was the banter. It was comical in many places and kept the story funny and light. There were only a few big areas of drama but the way Olivia's musical unfolded along with the summer for the students doing the summer program at Yale was a great cross over. In truth, I give Wizner quite a bit of credit for writing 2 stories in one, with different yet similar characters. I also give him immense points for keeping the two story lines separate and not confusing them.
This reminded me often of not necessarily my high school years, since I was the stay at home and read or hang out with just a few friends rather than party kind, but I heard my peers talking. I wasn't naive that this goes on and anyone who thinks otherwise needs to open their eyes, parents and students alike. Wizner actually found inspiration for parts of this book from his students- further proving that point.
The ending made me laugh- I honestly didn't see it coming, at all. The final act written in was hilarious, playing on a real gross but definitely amusing long standing joke within the musical that I thought was a perfect way to close this entire debauchery.
So, I give this one 4 stars- not the most profound work but still an entertaining read that kept me wanting to keep going. The characters are not strong but I get the feeling strong characters isn't really the point on this one. Caution should be used- know what you are getting into although really, the title should give it away- but if you aren't comfortable with a big emphasis on sex, then don't read this one and I know without a doubt that if I was reading this book at 14 or 15 and my parents saw, they would not have been happy (which means that I would have read it, if nothing else than to just be defiant...)