Monday, March 23, 2009

Dirty Laundry by Daniel Ehrenhaft

Winchester School of the Arts, in the beautiful and pampered East Coast, is home to students whose parents want the most for them academically and socially. It caters specifically to them in the arts, academics and extra-curricular activities. Oh…and it has the nickname “The Laudromat” because it’s the last place students, aka dirty laundry, have left when they get kicked out of the most prestigious schools. The headmaster’s speeches can be quoted verbatim by most seniors, the drama teacher lets his small kids run rampant while he breathes his garlic breath into a stale room, and you never know what they’ll serve in the cafeteria.
But this year is different – Darcy Novak, budding theatrical star and senior dorm supervisor has been missing. No one knows what happened to her, why she was taken or she’s still alive. There are some suspects, but nothing definitive.
And then school starts, and so do the students. There’s Fun (aka Fellini Udall Newport, also the resident tagger), his roommate Hilton James (aka Nails, who’s worn the same James Brown Sex Machine t-shirt for the past two or three weeks), Kirk Bishop (who has Headmaster Stanton on a leash, thanks to his dad’s cash, despite his acne-ridden face), and newcomers Carli Gemz (pronounced “games” and was made famous for her child acting in commercials) and her roommate Miranda (who’s never met the mysterious Darcy, but feels like she knows her through one phone conversation).
Carli is there on assignment to get in character for an upcoming television series, as well as being Fun’s one-way ticket back into a private school. It should be all Fun and Gemz (get it?) but things aren’t adding up…and both of them want to get down with what really happened to Darcy and who can they trust?
Part mystery, part hilarity, Ehrenhaft comes to the forefront with another comedic look at oddballs and loafers, wannabes, and lovers. He has the perfect combination of mystery and laugh out loud moments that make this another great book for any teen reader. Ehrenhaft’s stylistic writing continues to shine in this one as it has his others (including 10 Things to Do Before I Die and Drawing a Blank) and should be paired with other sharp and witty books, like Spanking Shakespeare and Son of the Mob. Just when you think there’s too much supernaturalism and gritty realism in YA lit, along comes Ehrenhaft!! THANK YOU!!!!

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