Select one of the keywords
Pirates of the Retail Wasteland    by Adam Selzer order for
Pirates of the Retail Wasteland
by Adam Selzer
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, e-Book

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Pirates of the Retail Wasteland, Adam Selzer gives us a story about a group of friends who are all untypical eighth grade students. The school's gifted pool - 'a bunch of miscreants - commies, perverts, and pyros who happened to score well on standardized tests' - is comprised of rebels.

The story's narrator, Leon, is embarrassed by his roleplaying parents (the roles in sync with recipes they find in books - like True Americans are Grilling Americans - from the local thrift store and then try out at home) and by his accountant dad's green Mohawk hairstyle. Leon is attracted to sophisticated Anna (who 'had practically been bottle-fed on coffee'), but is very unsure of where he stands with her, even after she gives him a hickey. Edie, the commie, and pyro Brian are a couple. Jenny feels like she's 'busting out of jail' any time she can get away from her overprotective, overcontrolling parents - and has a crush on Leon.

After gifted pool students are assigned a project to build some sort of monument, Dustin and James decide to go after unpopular gym teacher, Coach Hunter, leaving a series of depressing poems for him to find. But Leon's group is more ambitious. They decide to make 'a short documentary contrasting the style and substance of the old downtown versus the faceless corporate garbage of the new strip malls.' To make the film, they embark on an act of piracy, by taking over a coffeeshop, Wackford's, which is part of a chain.

They do make the movie, helped by a McHobo employed at the coffee shop. And along the way, Leon's love triangle is resolved in this quirky, meandering, funny story about the importance of taking a stand.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews