cover image Perfectly Good White Boy

Perfectly Good White Boy

Carrie Mesrobian. Carolrhoda Lab, $17.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4677-3480-6

As his junior year ends, people keep asking Sean Norwhalt what he’ll do next. But it’s hard to focus on that, when his alcoholic father is gone and he’s living with his mother in a crappy rental. Then a pretty senior’s Frisbee hits in him the face, and suddenly he has a girlfriend—his first. Mesrobian, who took on hookup culture in her acclaimed debut, Sex and Violence, excels at conveying the awkwardness and wonder of sex, and the erotic life of a teenage boy (in this case featuring Sean’s constant, albeit inconvenient hormonal companion, “The Horn”). Sean’s not interested in college, and the main events of senior year are his job at the Thrift Bin; his growing friendship with Neecie, a classmate and co-worker with her own sex quandary; and deciding whether to join the Marines. As Sean comes to some peace with his family, spends time with Neecie, and makes some decisions, nothing very dramatic happens. Yet Mesrobian deftly conveys just how much drama there is in the everyday, especially for a 17-year-old trying to figure out not just what’s next, but what’s happening right now. Ages 13–up. (Oct.)