K. L. Going lives with her family in the Hudson Valley area of New York State. Since graduating from college she has worked as an adult literacy tutor, a ticket agent for a major airline, a front desk clerk at a resort hotel, and an assistant in a Manhattan literary agency. She has lived in Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and New York. K.L. is the author of many books, including Fat Kid Rules The World, The Liberation of Gabriel King, and Dog in Charge. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World, was a YALSA Michael L. Printz honor book.
In her savvy and fast-paced debut, Going tells the story of high school senior Troy Billings, 6'1", 300 pounds and completely unhappy. An eternal fish out of water, Troy is on the verge of suicide-at least he believes he is-when he is inexplicably rescued by the dangerously thin Curt MacRae. A homeless boy who constantly pops pills (Tylenol and Imodium, he says), Curt is a legendary local punk rock musician. The unlikeliest of friendships develops, and Curt recruits Troy as the drummer in his new band. Troy, who thinks in headlines (the titular example being one of his more optimistic lines), is a winning narrator, immediately roping us into his sad-sack ennui. But for all his problems-his weight, his relative lack of social skills, a brother and father who don't understand him-there is a sweetness to Troy, which rescues the book from becoming a Prozac nightmare. And Troy's experiences within the band ably mirror his uninvited shove into adulthood. But the most fascinating and compelling character is his father; a widower and a retired marine, he is a man of very few words, but the growth he undergoes in these few pages is remarkable. Going uses a fair amount of explicit language in her dialogue ("No one beats me or fucks me without my permission. Got that?" says Curt) but it lends an air of authenticity to the dealings of two young men-both trapped in their own extremes, both in need of interface with others, both able to clumsily help each other. Ages 14-up. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Gr 8 Up-The opening lines of this first-person narrative immediately hook readers as they enter the lonely, troubled, self-deprecating world of Troy Billings, a 296-pound 17-year-old who contemplates ending his life by jumping off a New York City subway platform. He is interrupted by Curt MacCrae, a legendary punk-rock guitarist and sometime-student at W. T. Watson High School. When Curt connects with him and "saves his life," Troy is amazed that someone, especially someone as cool as Curt, wants to befriend him. An unlikely, almost symbiotic relationship develops between these two. Curt convinces Troy to be the drummer in his band, even though he hasn't touched the drums since seventh grade. He is flattered by the suggestion and believes that being in the band could be his key to acceptance. Troy's voice is candid, irreverent, realistic, and humorous. He imagines the events of his life in facetious headlines always related to his weight. Curt himself is the product of a dysfunctional family, and he has plenty of problems of his own, including a reliance on drugs. Going has created three-dimensional characters whose behavior rings true. There are many unexpected twists and turns, including the horrifying and hysterically gross depiction of Troy's first gig. Fans of Joyce Carol Oates's Big Mouth & Ugly Girl (HarperCollins, 2002) will love this wonderful, engrossing tale.-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Troy's voice is candid, irreverent, realistic and humorous. [A] wonderful, engrossing tale.--SLJ