The story is pretty simple. Dennis the class valedictorian and debate team captain is giving his graduation speech. During which he decides to publicly declare his love for Beth Cooper - the head cheerleader. Which would probably have had a higher probability of a positive outcome if she was more than dimly aware of his existence. Just to take things up a few notches he manages to also insult a large number of fellow students with his piercing psychoanalysis plus out his best friend (who may or may not actually be gay). None of these folks are particularly thrilled, nor is Beth's boyfriend who's home from the marines and dealing with anger control issues. The book follows the events of the rest of the evening where pretty much every teen movie scene of import is experienced by Dennis and his new friends. The author, Larry Doyle manages to keep the feel of the best teen comedies while giving each of the inherent cliches a good tweak.
Seems there's going to be a movie made - and while I'll probably try it I can't in a million years figure out how it could possible be as good. Take for this example this small section explaining the fundamental difference in world view between best friends Denis and Rich
I don't think it's necessary to be a fan of the teen comedy genre to enjoy the book. But if you are it'll probably be that much more fun. Each chapter starts with a noteworthy quote taken from teen protagonists of the ages from Romeo to Lloyd Dobler. See if you can place them all...
Based on a close reading of current events and a misapplication of the third law of thermodynamics, Denis believed that the universe tended toward tragedy. Since his own life had been free of anything genuinely tragic, Denis figured he was due. He feared that if he did anything that was "adventurous" or "un-scheduled" or "fun," it would end tragically. Statistically, it almost had to.
Rich had had a much less tragedy-free life. We needn't go into the details, since it's a long, sad and ultimately unoriginal story, but as a result Rich had developed a coping mechanism by which all of the terrible things that happened to him were merely wacky complications that would, before the movie of his life was over, be resolved in an audience-pleasing happy ending. He occasionally worried his life might be an independent film, or worse, a Swedish flick, but he chose to behave as if the movie he lived was a raucous teen comedy, and he was somebody like Ferris Bueller or Otter from Animal House, or, worst-case scenario, that guy who fucked a pie.
And so Rich threw open the door and proclaimed "Ladies!" knowing that no matter what happened next, or after that, or subsequently, eventually he would be loved and vindicated and everybody would be dancing to a classic song from the seventies
So go and get this book through your favorite reading channel - local library, Amazon, or better yet via your shiny new (80's style design) Kindle.
As I'm writing I realized this is the weekend of my high school reunion back on the other coast. Weird coincidence - though now I realize it's probably for the best that no one let me speak at graduation. ;-)