Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film about the Grapes of Wrath

by Steven Goldman

Mitchell Wells is the kind of teenager who feels awkward just about all the time.... read more

Mitchell Wells is the kind of teenager who feels awkward just about all the time. He survives school and other social situations solely with the help of his best (and only) friend, David. When David shares that he is gay, Mitchell is sure that everything will be okay—but he begins questioning whether this means he’s gay, too, and a new awkwardness develops in the boys’ friendship. Life at school is complicated by a claymation film Mitchell impulsively decides to submit in lieu of a required paper on the Grapes of Wrath . A classmate’s parent registers a complaint against the film’s commentary (“a visual interpretation of biblical themes”) as offensive. Could it have been the naked clay Eve with button breasts, or the dancing Steinbeck Ken doll? Plagued by worry over the school administration’s response to the complaint, Mitchell has other concerns, too: he has a date to prom with the girl of his fantasies. . . but why does the popular beauty want to go with him? Meanwhile, David seems increasingly distant, Mitchell’s sister Carrie is trying to set him up with a girl named Amanda, and Carrie’s best friend M. C. is inexplicably evolving from a household fixture to a person of interest in Mitchell’s life. Mitchell’s voice is laugh-out-loud funny as he agonizes his way through junior year fixated on sex, friendship, and academic trials, with a culminating prom scene that steals the show. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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