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Youth In Revolt by C.D. Payne This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Nowadays, it seems like the reading material available to young adults is limited to only a few scant subjects: romance, the supernatural, and supernatural romance. C.D. Payne’s debut novel, Youth in Revolt, offers a welcome and refreshing respite from brooding werewolves and shadowy forests to look at the more comical side of teen angst.

Youth in Revolt is the story of mild-mannered 14 year-old nobody Nick Twisp, who lives in suburban Oakland with his overbearing mother and her slacker boyfriend, Jerry. On a vacation to the boonies, he meets the stunningly beautiful, scathingly intelligent Sheeni Saunders. As romance blossoms, Sheeni encourages Nick to abandon his average, mediocre life and “be bad. Be very bad.” Nick takes Sheeni’s advice to heart, and after a series of wild misadventures involving several ugly canines, a scholarship to study in India, and his mother’s ancient camping trailer, he finds himself on the run, pursued by the police, the FBI and his angry friends and parents.

Despite the length of the book (it is no shorter than 500 pages) there is never a dull moment. Readers will read on with baited breath as Nick, accompanied by his suave, rebellious alter ego, François Dillinger, navigate the twisted labyrinth of insane parents, second rate public education and backstabbing friends, and laugh hysterically as he tries everything from blackmail to masquerading as a woman in order to win the affection of his ever elusive inamorata.

Payne’s writing is nothing short of brilliant. The dialogue is snappy, the jokes are subtle and witty, the plot twists are completely unexpected, and the colorful cast of characters never fails to be interesting. Nick is perfectly comfortable resorting to lackmail, bribery and lies to get what he wants, but somehow still manages to be a likeable guy, because the reader knows he is doing it all for the woman he loves. Even the secondary characters, like Sheeni’s seemingly omnipotent, trumpet-playing brother Paul are fully fleshed out and add flavor to the story.

This being said, this book does not shy away from profanity, obscenity, or sexuality and is at times rather crass. I would not recommend it to those whose sensibilities are easily offended, nor would I recommend it to those looking for a thought-provoking, sensitive novel on modern youth. But if you’re looking for a light-hearted, sometimes crude, but always entertaining and hilarious story of young love gone askew, than this is the book for you.



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