K. L. GOING is the author of Fat Kid Rules the World, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, and The Liberation of Gabriel King. She lives and writes full-time in Glen Spey, New York.
In her most impressive achievement yet, Going (Fat Kid Rules the World) gets inside the mind of a teenager who has fallen between the cracks and, facing his options, knows he's "shit out of luck." Like the narrator of Chris Lynch's Inexcusable, 16-year-old Iggy Corso is an unreliable narrator whose account of events clashes with what readers know of how the world works. The brilliance of the novel is the way in which Iggy's perceptions call into question readers' own sense of society's structure and inner workings. Born of an addicted mother and living in New York City public housing with his parents (both addicts), Iggy knows that a high school education is his only means of escape. Yet he faces expulsion for "acting out" in class. He knows he needs to come up with a "How-to-Change-Everyone's-Mind-About-Me plan," so he can attend a hearing and get back into school. When Mo, his only friend, scores some drugs on credit from Freddie, the drug dealer whom Iggy blames for his parents' addiction, the author fluidly juxtaposes the two friends' realms. Mo, who is "renouncing" his Upper East Side life, heads home to get the money for the drugs from his mother and takes Iggy with him. Some humorous scenes of Iggy interacting with the Park Avenue crowd demonstrate what a fish out of water he is. Yet, when Mo believes that all can be fixed up with Freddie easily, their roles shift and Iggy reigns as the expert in the world of New York's underbelly. The adults here are just as well-drawn as the teens; a sympathetic principal, cop and priest, as well as Mo's mother, all help pave the way for Iggy's internal growth. The book delivers a powerful anti-drug story without being preachy, and in perhaps the book's greatest strength, the events remain painfully authentic to Iggy's circumstances. Readers will be rooting for Iggy as he performs his ultimate heroic deed. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 9 Up-Iggy Corso, 16, doesn't do drugs, even though he was born addicted to crack. He lives in a city housing project, in an apartment filled with furniture that his stoned and drunken father collects from the street. Iggy's mother is an addict who has been AWOL for a month. The cool thing about the teen is that, despite his parents and his environment, he doesn't feel sorry for himself. A freshman who has failed two grades and been suspended eight times, he takes things for what they are, until he gets suspended again, pending a hearing. His principal says to him, "You've had a lot to overcome...but....We can all...do something that contributes...." After listening to this, Iggy realizes that his only chance for the future is to get back into school. The principal's statement haunts him throughout the book. He enlists help from his so-called mentor/friend, Mo (who was suspended from pre-law school after being caught smoking pot), but his association with this disaffected youth from a wealthy family creates a whole new set of problems. Thick pencil lines run down the inner margins of the pages; Iggy's life is like these lines, on the edge, reaching out, searching for somewhere to go. The story is told in widely spaced paragraphs, making it a good choice for reluctant readers. Like Troy Billings in Going's Fat Kid Rules the World (Putnam, 2003), Iggy Corso is unforgettable.-Shannon Seglin, Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
* "Iggy Corso is unforgettable." --"School Library Journal "(September 2006) (starred review) * "The author...avoids heavy symbolism and message by grounding her story in realistic, grimly vivid, urban details, and she creates a memorable character in Iggy...Teens will connect with Iggy's powerful sense that although he notices everything, he is not truly seen and accepted himself." --"Booklist "(September 15, 2006 - starred review) "Hang on for the incredible ride. Wild plot twists combined with Iggy's endearing narration will keep turning pages and readers cheering this strangely heroic anti-hero."--Kirkus Reviews [star] "Unforgettable."--School Library Journal (starred)