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I am yet to enter high school, but I certainly hope my sophomore year isn't like Tom Henderson's. Dead people, ESP, a secret code, drummers who can't count to four, Stratego, an international crime ring, revenge, and mispronunciation skills are all just everyday aspects in this Hillmont High School student's complicated, mysterious, thrilling sophomore year.
Tom Henderson scores pretty high on the “dud chart”, is avoided like the plague and endures abuse in the form of dark sarcasm from an associate principal that isn't exactly what he seems. In times as dark as these, Tom isn't sure he can trust even his best friend, Sam Hellerman, who, lately, has been acting rather odd. Could his best friend know something he doesn't?
Then Tom finds his father's copy of The Catcher in the Rye, turning his world upside down, forever. That's when the chain starts. The chain of events that ultimately leads up to revealing the secret of his father's death, the events that shaped it, a “suicide” dating back to March of 1963, attempts on his life, and the exposure of an international crime league. Tom soon finds himself beaten half to death, threatened by villain far more sinister than he first appears, attempting to find a phantom girl named Fiona, and searching for the rarest thing on earth; a drummer who can count to four. These are all compelling reasons to keep burning through the pages of King Dork in order to discover its ultimate climax.
As Tom attempts to uncover the mystery behind his father's death, everywhere forces beyond his comprehension are seeking to get him out of the way. Permanently. Mr. Teone, the associate principal, has turned even more hostile than usual, Matt Lynch and his gang are stalking him as if there's a contract out on him (maybe there is), and suddenly people like him are the primary target for humiliation. Is even his own Sam Hellerman trustworthy at this point? As Tom says; “It started with a book. It pretty much destroyed the world as I had known it up to that point.”
Although there aren't many characters in King Dork, there certainly are enough to keep the story spinning, turning, and twisting in all directions. Can Tom survive these perilous, treacherous trails? You decide. Well, actually, technically you don't, the author does, but I just said that because it sounds cool. What's wrong with overly dramatic advertising?
Anyway, back on track, here's the meltdown: Will Tom ever…?
Find the mysterious and elusive “Fiona”
Find a drummer who can count to four
Discover the truth about his father's “accident”
Tie up loose ends with Mr. Teone
Start up an actual band
Not have to read The Catcher in the Rye for the zillionth time
Help his stepfather chill out
Figure out what's wrong with his friend
Wake you up so you can read the end of this (in your opinion) tedious essay
Attract your attention enough to buy a cheap $9 copy
Here's a better question. Who cares? If it's you, pick up a copy. If not, set this review aside and walk away slowly and suspiciously and no one gets hurt.