A truly funny book! Written in the journal entry style à la Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, it will make anyone who has ever been a high school freshman laugh every few pages. The diary follows the first year in high school for Michael “Storky” Pomerantz, as he tries to lose his nickname, get a girlfriend, and learn about making the right choices in life. Unfortunately he is not only saddled with a useless divorced Dad in the throes of a mid-life crisis, but other calamitous events in the life of a 14-year old: the uncontrollable male body part he nicknames “Rex” (who causes embarrassing things to happen while he is trying to impress girls at the blackboard with his Spanish skills), a mom who begins dating (gasp!) the pudgy family dentist, a friend who introduces him to alcohol, and Michael’s own age-appropriate musings and wonderings about sex. First-time author Deborah Garfinkle (note that the publisher uses the J.K. Rowling-style “don’t‑let-the-boys- know-it-was-written-by-a-woman” name change), gets into the head of a smart, sarcastic and sensitive young teen with great skill. The character of Michael is unmistakably Jewish and living a very middle-class, three-times-a-year, Reform Jewish existence in San Diego. Librarians: beware of the maturity of the themes, but know there are many young high-schoolers who will be passing this hilarious book from hand to hand and waiting most impatiently for a sequel. Recommended for ages 13 – 16.
Lisa Silverman is director of Sinai Temple’s Blumenthal Library in Los Angeles and a former day school librarian. She is the former children’s book review editor of Jewish Book World.