I’ve seen Josh Berk around on Live Journal, and he seemed like a nice guy. In his user pic, he’s standing in a field, so I figure he is down to earth and maybe chews on a piece of wheat and says “Aw, shucks!” a lot.
And then I heard that The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin got a starred review from Kirkus. Kirkus, who is famously crankypants, so if they like something, that’s something. And School LIbrary Journal also gave it a starred review!
Will is a deaf kid who has decided to mainstream himself, transferring from a deaf high school to a hearing high school, where he plans to ditch his hearing aids and rely on reading lips. He ends ups solving a murder - and of course that ability to lip read comes in handy.
The cover makes the book look like it would skew young, but it’s actually a solid YA. And it’s funny.
Here’s a bit from when Will skips school:
“Lots of uneasy thoughts flutter inside my head as bird and fat, lazy bees flutter above me. Will Mr. Yankowski notice I am gone? Will Travis seek some sort of revenge? Will I get detention? Electroshock therapy? Tasered?
“Who am I kidding Only Devon Smiley will even register my absence, and he is probably too busy getting his nipples twisted in the locker room by D. Jonker. Jonker has really stepped up his harassment of Devon lately for some reason.
“Right now it all seems so far away: gym class, Devon’s nipples, Pat, Liegha, Principal Kroener, Fatzy McFatpants.”
And here’s another section about his crush:
“For the whole rest of the day, I cannot stop imagining Leigha’s response to my note. I play out a thousand possible scenarios. I work hard to try to convince myself that the good ones (me and Leigha making out in a shed) are likely, or at least no less likely that the really bad ones (me getting murdered in a shed). Why do all these scenarios involve a shed?"
What makes this book so good is Will’s voice. Agents and editors often say they are looking for an author with a unique, strong voice. If you want to see what they mean, read The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin.