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I Was Born To Lie

Mandy C. reviews Sean Beaudoin’s Wise Young Fool, which makes her reconsider her interest in becoming a singer in a punk band. (She just couldn’t hack it, y’all.)

I Was Born To Lie

BOOK REPORT for Wise Young Fool  by Sean Beaudoin

Cover Story: Love Me, Leave Me, Use Me, Read Me
BFF Charm: Meh
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factor: Punks
Relationship Status: Chem Lab Partners

Cover Story: Love Me, Leave Me, Use Me, Read Me

This cover looks like a well-used and sometimes misused journal or notebook. The cut-outs, the duct tape and the label-maker title tag all add to the “beaten to hell, but more important than diamonds” feel.

The Deal:

Richie Sudden is a complicated fellow. He’s not big on much about life, other than playing his guitar, which he does often—the harder, the faster and the louder the better. His penchant for hardcore punk music spills over to all aspect of his life, from his relationships with family and friends to his somewhat questionable behaviors, which is probably what got him into the situation he’s in—stuck in juvie, having to make himself not stand out and not wanting to fit in.

BFF Charm: Meh

Richie is—to be totally honest—kind of a dick. To his friends, to his parents, to authority figures and particularly to girls. It works for the character, being that he’s a “punk” kid with some serious issues who’s in juvie for half of the book, but I never found myself thinking that he’d be fun to hang around with. It was cool to read his story, and he’s a fascinating guy with glimpses of redeeming qualities here and there, but definitely more acquaintance material than BFF material.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

There are moments in the Wise Young Fool in which I found myself thinking, “to some people, namely people in the early stages of figuring out sex, this might be sexy.” For me, however, it wasn’t. Any remotely swoonworthy action is too awkward, too frantic—in other words, all too realistic. (I like a little more fantasy with my swoon, thankyouverymuch.)

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Wise Young Fool is told entirely from Richie’s point of view, with alternating chapters of his life on the “outside,” before, and journal entries/incidents from inside juvie. Sean Beaudoin takes no prisoners (har) with either part—there are curse words, there is slang, there are lies and uncomfortable truths. There is also a lot of punk and hardcore music lyrics and trivia smattered throughout. Basically, Boudoin made me fully believe that I was reading an honest account of the life of a teenage boy.

Bonus Factor: Punks

I’m not really all that familiar with the punk lifestyle, but I appreciate the underlying ideas of free will and damning the man—and do they ever have awesome style.

Casting Call:

Andrew Garfield as Richie Sudden

Richie was a hard guy to cast. Since we see everything in the book from his POV, we don’t really get a good picture of what he looks like, other than that he’s lanky. At one point, another character says, “You really don’t know how beautiful you are, do you,” so I went with Andrew to fill his role. He is both pretty and lanky, after all, and I’d love to see him play “tough.”

Francis Capra (circa the early Veronica Mars Weevil years) as Elliot Hella

Elliot is described as the kind of guy who can silence riots with one single glance. I mean, his nickname throughout Wise Young Fool is “El Hella.” Francis is missing Elliot’s signature giant mutton chops, but special effects makeup artists could make them happen without too much trouble.

Mae Whitman as Lacy Duplais

Although Lacy isn’t a main character, I really wanted to cast her, as her character’s progression in the book is one of the most drastic—she goes from cardigans and pearls to bright-red mohawk and singing lead in a hardcore band within a matter of chapters. Mae’s perfect for playing the “from preppy to punk” change.

Vanessa Hudgens as Ravenna Woods

Ravenna is the unattainable girl with a droolworthy (at least for Richie) body and beautiful long black hair. She’s also kind of a Mean Girl with a vulnerable side, and I’m pretty sure Vanessa can pull that off well.

Relationship Status: Chem Lab Partners

When we first met, this book and I, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As we got to know each other, I was surprised and then shocked and then unexpectedly satisfied. I’d be cool with giving Wise Young Fool a head nod as we passed in the halls and exchanging the occasional small talk while we waited for class to begin, but I can’t see either of us wanting to hang out on the weekends.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free review copy from Little, Brown Books. I received neither Haribo grapefruit candies nor money for this review (dammit!). Wise Young Fool will be available Aug. 6.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.
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