Funny Little Monkey -- Andrew Auseon

Fab.  Fabbity fab fab, as Georgia Nicholson would say.

At first, Funny Little Monkey reminded me both of Speak and of You Don't Know Me:

I watch her like a stalker idiot, like a total loser.  My desk sits in the back, near the door.  With my special booster seat, my red-and-white sneakers--hand-me-downs from an eight-year-old cousin--hover a foot about the floor.  Our class is the runoff, the new kids, hard cases, brick heads, and thugs.  I don't know any of their names, even after a year of witnessing their stupidity.  That's what happens when you move someplace new and never make an effort to meet anyone.  At least that's how I did it.

I named the kid on my right Stretch Pants because he's from some other country and wears these bulging black tights every day, no matter the shirt.  Mustard sits in front of me, farting up an invisible cloud of lethal toxins whenever she shifts her immense weight.  Once she even had the nerve to blame her mustard gas on me, but no one believed her 'cause everybody knows about Mustard.  I have nothing against Stretch Pants or Mustard.  Come to think of it, I've got nothing against anyone, really.

Except my brother, Kurt.  I've got a lot against Kurt.

Soon, though, Arty moves further into his own very original (and perfect) voice.  I stopped making any comparisons to other books and became completely engrossed.  This is another one of those books that made me forget there was an author -- I didn't even think to read the author information until a few hours after I'd read the book.

Arty Moore is fourteen years old and a little over four feet tall.  He has to give himself growth hormone shots every day.  His twin brother, Kurt, is six foot three and prone to fits of rage.  Enter Leslie Dermott, the gorgeous girl from the passage above.  Also enter Affront, Millard Fillmore High's underground resistance.  Yeah, I wish my high school had had an underground resistance, too.

It's great.  I highly, highly recommend it.  Very highly.  If you read YA books, put it on your list right now.  Did you write it down yet?  I'm serious here.  If you don't read them, what's your prob?  Get off your high horse and start.

Arty is an angry, angry young man -- with good reason -- but he also has those very real teenage blinders that don't always allow him to see the whole picture.  He's a fantastic character.  (As is Kerouac.  And Oil Change/Rose Purdy and Camilla the maid and Gus Van Mussberger and Kurt(!) and yes, even Leslie Dermott.  Hey -- I don't necessarily have to like someone for them to reach 'great character' status.)