Ritchie Sudden has 90 days. 90 days to think and write about why he's got 90 days. Well, maybe not think. Ritchie doesn't want to think the way he thinks you want him to think, but he's worried that that's a cliche so he doesn't care about that...I think. He does care about his one true friend El Hella, his new very old guitar, a girl that may be just screwed up enough to like him, and his terrible band Wise Young Fool. Maybe just one or two of those days he'll figure out why everything happened and if it means anything. Maybe he won't. He may even end up a wise young fool. If not, two out of three ain't bad.
Ritchie has a hilarious and very genuine voice. Beaudoin totally nails the trying-way-too-hard-to-not-try-too-hard that comes all too often with being a teenager. Ritchie's crushingly stupid mistakes and unnecessary (but totally awesome) punk rock defiance end up making sense and seeming almost rational as he slowly lets us know more about who he is and what his last few weeks of freedom were like. Especially excellent is the very authentic understanding of music and being in a band. Beaudoin nails this to the wall and slam dunks it and sundry other expressions for exactitude. It is a welcome change from the often idealized and false look at teen music that comes from writers that have clearly watched too many of those super-awesome movies form the 80s about teen bands Makin It! (this is NOT really the title of a movie starring Lea Thompson and a young Demi Moore, but it could be. It could be.) The music , the grime, the feeling of crushing conformity all make this a book with unique texture, attitude, and spark. My one gripe is that it definitely suffers from Main Character Making references that are From Author's Teen Decade and Not His Own Too Often, but hey I'm old too so I actually get them! It may be one of many wayward young man write from a correctional facility in a snarky voice and eventually (maybe) learning something from the writing (symbolic of how writing and reading of novels can form a catharsis, perhaps?), but it is definitely one not to miss.
You can find Wise Young Fool in out catalog here.