Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Review: Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator. by Josh Berk. March 13, 2012. Knopf Books for Young Readers. 240 pages. ISBN: 9780375957017
Ever since his dad died, Guy has been simply coasting through life. He has no college plans, no driver’s license and no girlfriend, and though his best friend, Anoop, tries to encourage him, Guy mostly ignores his prompting and does his own thing. When he finds out that the girl he has a major crush on has joined the school forensics squad, this does get Guy’s attention, and he joins along with Anoop. This doesn’t quite lead to the love connection he has in mind, but he does discover his aptitude for forensics, as well as some secrets about his dad’s past that his mom hasn’t shared.

This is one of the funniest books I have read this year. Though the subject matter sounds serious, Guy’s voice and the snappy dialogue between him and his friends keep the tone of the entire story light and fun. At times, the sexual and body function humor get to be a bit much, but anyone who has spent time with groups of teenage boys in any setting knows it’s not really unrealistic, and that boys in the book’s target audience would get a kick out of it. Similarly, a lot of the plot points - such as finding an actual dead body - are a bit far-fetched, but they don’t present a problem. Guy and his world remain credible throughout the story.

The most obvious read-alikes for Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator are Allen Zadoff’s books. Berk and Zadoff both infuse difficult situations with heart and humor and make their audiences laugh while they think about the implications of what happens in their stories. The friendship between Guy and Anoop also reminds me of a lot of the best buddy pairs that turn up in John Green’s books and in some books by Gordon Korman.

As compared with the CSI club series, this book does a much better job of reaching the audience most likely to be interested in the study of forensics, and the story it develops around forensic science is much more believable and entertaining.

I borrowed Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator from my local public library. 


For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat

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