Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2012
YA; Contemporary; Mystery
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have to start out by saying that I'm a native Pennsylvanian (Philadelphia suburbs) and therefore it is basically my birthright to disdain New Jersey. Not for any particular reason, just because. Thus upon seeing that this book is set in New Jersey, I may have sniffed a little-why would you set your book in the Jerz (note: this is what the narrator calls the state, not something I would ever come up with). Of course I kept reading wanting to give this book a fair shake and when I ended up literally laughing out loud on the third page, I knew I was hooked.
Admittedly I did have high hopes for this book because I thought the title sounded cool and I am interested in the science forensics although I don't watch many procedurals (Castle and The Mentalist are my go-tos). But once I clicked with the humor, I was caught. And that is the main thing; if you like the humor, you will enjoy this book. If you don't like it, then you probably will not.
Main character Guy Langman has just lost his father and is trying to cope with that while also trying to figure out girls (...good luck with that Guy!) and joining the new forensics club at school. He would rather be playing video games, taking bubble baths, and putting forth no effort whatsoever. Guy also indulges in some low humor with fart jokes, your mama jokes, and similar kinds springing from his mouth. While I don't think of myself as a fan of such humor, it turns out I may be wrong because I laughed at pretty much everything that could possibly be construed as humorous.
Oddly enough I thought the book went downhill about halfway through when a plot seemed to emerge. First some valuable coins are stolen from Guy's house; then a boy who looks remarkably like him is found dead, possibly murdered. These circumstances naturally frighten Guy and kick his butt into gear. While previously he had ample time for bathing and video game playing, now he is lifting finger prints, searching out family secrets, and talking to an actual girl. I think this may be because I was a little tired of the jokes, which do grow repetitive. I also thought the "murder" situation was a little confusing. But I did appreciate the growth that Guy experiences-it is a big transformation for him without losing his snarkiness.
While Guy is indisputably the main character, he has some fun supporting characters such as his mother, his best friend Anoop, crush Raquel, rich kid Hairston (seriously), smarty-pants Goth Maureen, and teacher Mr. Zant round out the most important characters as well as Guy's father Francis who lived a colorful life that Guy looks to for inspiration.
Overall: A hilarious addition to the YA category with a sprinkling of mystery and romance.